Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Let them eat cake

Had a spaghetti fundraiser at church Sunday for youth & children's ministries. Such fun with the love/Italian theme!

I got to make a cake! :-) I was rushed, but apparently it was good!

Now I get to make another for a friend's 50th wedding celebration & this is the style I'm going to use for Melodie's birthday cake too! Maybe I WILL get enough practice to do this once I retire!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

How did I never learn about powdered buttermilk before now??

Powdered Buttermilk for baking

Seriously. I love baking, but hate trying to keep buttermilk on hand, both because of the wastefulness of only using a half to one cup before it spoils, and because i never think about needing it when I go grocery shopping. And then, I find out about this wonderful stuff, just by happening to read along the random links in a recipe about easy breads. Amazon is out of the 3 pack (who really needs 3 cans anyhow?) but some quality grocery stores (NOT Wally World, at least not around here) stock it and other brands of the same regularly. I need to track some down!
 *** update: wally world started stocking this recently, over by the powdered milk, for about $5 a can!***

for some odd internety reason, I can't log in and comment on our own blog! but here's some alternatives I've found, and also, they make a heavy cream powder, too!
Powder heavy Cream Substitute

1 lbs. bag of powdered buttermilk

Bob's Red Mill brand powdered buttermilk

Seeing as Bob's Red Mill is in on the action, I may be able to find it at Natural Grocers locally, or there's always an excuse to run down to Ft. Collins (Which is oddly like the Yellow Springs of Ohio)

OOH! OOH! OOH! Barry Farm Foods on Amazon has all these, and lots of other baking goodies (whole powdered eggs, anyone? Black Lentils? Arrowroot? Powdered egg whites? You know, ALL the stuff you can't easily find at wally world)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Use Old Socks to Keep Pants Contained for Tall Boots

I don't know what it is, but I wear out the the bottoms of my socks ALL.THE.TIME. (Ok, ok, I DO know what it is- I wear socks everywhere with no shoes while I'm at home, even taking out the trash. Hush.)  I normally save the tops of them for sock buns, but there are only so many you need lying about for that. And i have seen the trick of using the tops to make fitted cuffs for jackets, that's nice and all, but I don't have jackets that need that done. But I figured out another use: tame the jeans when I want to wear tall boots. I can't find mitten clips, and using normal blousing straps (military stuff that holds the legs of ABU's or ACU's neatly) means I either get a digging in spot if I got for the narrow ones, doubled up, or a huge lump that's too loose to do much good if I try the wide elastic ones. Because, ya know, they're meant for guys' legs. Soooo.... I'll just leave this right here:

Thursday, February 6, 2014

For boys too!!!

OK, everyone (well, everyone that thinks about it) has looked at, seen, or contemplated a princess style ring for their daughter when she turns 16 to remind her she's worth waiting for. (Yes, Hubby & I have discussed it, it's happening).

Well, my daughter is 4....but I have a boy that's 12, so he's my main concern in this department first. My first Google search for "promise ring boy" almost made me angry, as most of the results were especially feminine. Hello? I specified BOY!

Thankfully, my brain kicked in & I realized I wanted specifically something in reference to True Love Waits. I LOVE the verse that goes along with the idea.

1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV)  Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

 So, now my results were MUCH more what I was looking for to give my son(s). (Yes, Bubby will have to hit this stage before the Baby Girl too.....scary!) These are MY three favorites, but I guess we'll see which he likes at that point. Right now, he's more of a bracelet kinda guy, so maybe that should be my next search!

Now, before anyone gets all bent out of shape. It's NOT just my religious beliefs that make me want to encourage my children to wait. I did not myself. I wouldn't have my oldest if I had, possibly none of them, as that is truly what "pushed" my marriage to happen. (We've beat just about every statistic out there...we're just cool). 

But at the same time, and I'm sure I've indicated this before, I feel something is missing from my relationship due to not waiting. It won't break my marriage, not in the least. But not everyone is me & the hubby. Like I said, we're just cool! :-D But like any parent, I want more for my children than I have for myself. And I'll do all that I can to ensure that...without turning them into spoiled brats.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Amii's Copycat Great Harvest Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread (with high altitude notes)

Amii's (Copycat) Great Harvest Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
I cobbled together about a dozen other recipes to find the happy medium between not so much fat and not so much salt (seriously, some of them called for 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt!) and "where did the flavor go?" to arrive at this final product. Being in Wyoming (above 6500 feet, I need a bit more water (3/4 cup rather than 2/3), and a bit more flour (a good pinch of whole wheat, since that is thicker, or about a scant 1/4 cup white flour) to get the same consistency that you do on regular altitude recipes. I have listed the standard recipe, since most people don't need the high altitude adjustments, but have noted what works for me here, just in case.

1 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups white flour
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

16 oz cooked or canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1 cup oil ( or 1/2 cup applesauce and 1/2 cup oil- canola)
4 eggs, beaten lightly
2/3 cup water
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or 1/2 c semis and 1/2 c dark)


Preheat oven to 350°F degrees . Grease two (9x5 inch) loaf pans or three (8x4 inch) loaf pans.

Mix flours, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together in a large bowl; set aside.

Mix pumpkin, oil, eggs, and 2/3 cup water together and stir into dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. Place batter in prepared pans. Bake for approx.. 60 minutes, check at 45 minutes in case your oven varies.

For regular muffins, cook for about 18-25 minutes (check around 10 minutes to get an idea of where you need to be for time, high altitudes make this a difficult conversion, so I'm guessing based on most muffin recipes.)
Mini-loaf pans/mini loaf stoneware or large muffin: 25-35 minutes, depending upon how full you fill them, and altitudes.

Note about bread and baking temperatures: breads and breading coated foods usually cook at higher temps to get that nice crust and speed things along, but with the chocolate, that isn't always desirable. You can boost the temp by 25 degrees and just use your nose to speed up cooking time a bit, just be sure to keep an eye on it!