Clotted Cream

 

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We had quite a bit of cream piling up and I ran into a wonderful new cookbook at the thrift store so I decided to combine the two and try my hand at clotted cream.  The book is called Forgotten Skills of Cooking by Darina Allen

img_9535-300x300The process of making clotted cream was time consuming (about 12 hours) but really easy.

  • I skimmed the cream layer off the top of the milk and put it into a heat proof casserole.
  • Then covered that with a layer of aluminum foil.
  • Next I popped it into a very cool (175 degree) oven for about 11 hours.
  • Before bed I took it out to cool a bit and then transferred it into the refrigerator overnight.
  • The next morning I scraped off the top layer that formed and popped it into the mixer for a quick whip up.
  • The liquid portion left behind was used to make some lovely scones.
Posted in 2015, March 2015, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Spring is Springing (Even though it’s still Winter)

IMG_3135This has been an uncommonly warm winter.  We ended the fall with some cold weather, but once solstice hit, the weather has been warm and very wet.  A couple of lovely warm, dry periods in February has brought out buds and the garlic has jumped up to almost 6″ already.

 

Last weekend , we picked up some kale, spinach and broccoli starts from the farm store ($2.39 per 6-pack), a new rhubarb plant, and three bales of pine shavings for the blueberry bed. The veg gardens had begun…..

 

This week we added a Culinary Bay ($12.99), Mint, Oregano, Sage ($1.99 each), a couple of artichokes ($1.88) Pak Joi, and Rainbow Chard ($2.39 each) to the gardens.  I also picked up a packet of Nasturtium seeds ($0.79) another of Dill ($0.79) to plant a little later.


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Goals for 53 (a.k.a. 2015)

My goals this year are a little late so I’ve decided to refer to them as “goals 53″ as I just turned 53.  I have been fighting so kind of bronchitis since the winter solstice and finally have enough oomph to think about directing my life to do better things than sit on the couch and blow my nose.  Yeah!!!

1.  Read one book each month.

I’m a librarian that’s been watching too much hulu and netflix.  I’ve got to get back to my reading again.  I did pretty well in November, finishing the available “Throne of Glass” books – loved them, and the “Cinder” series (again those available) – again, loved them.

Now I’m going to start “Grasshopper Jungle” by Andrew Smith.

jungle

2.  Needlework

I’m going to try to finish one project each month.  I have several things from holiday gifts to make – a scarf, mittens, a beaded scarf… and a small table loom that I found at Goodwill that I’d like to learn to use.  I also need to learn to use my spinning wheel and my treadle sewing machine.

Project one is sock #2.  I finished one sock, but need to get the other one finished soon.sock

3.  Declutter

I’m giving  the items I don’t love to the thrift shop, friends that might like them or selling them on Craigslist.

4.  The Garden

Simple here really – Plan and Do Better!

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Thanksgiving 2014 – Pie Crust

Pie Crust

2 1/4 cup flour
pinch of salt
1/8 t chai tea spices
1 cup lard
up to 5 T ice water

  1. mix the dry ingredients by pulsing in a food processor bowl
  2. add the lard and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal
  3. incorporate the water until the mixture just comes together into a ball
  4. flatten between food wrap and chill until needed.
Posted in 2014, Baking, Thanksgiving 2014, Thanksgiving Recipes | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving 2014 – Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie Filling

  • 1 sugar pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  1. cut in half
  2. scoop out seeds and slime
  3. add 1/4 cup brown sugar to each half
  4. wrap in foil
  5. bake at 350 degrees until soft (about two hours)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 t dried ginger
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 t ground cloves
  • 6 beaten eggs

6. Combine the following – I use the food processor

  • Scoop out pumpkin fresh while still hot (pour off and retain liquid) – you’ll need 3 cups
  • mix in cream cheese
  • add in other ingredients

7.  Pour into pie shells and bake at 350 degrees about 50 minutes or until the center in set (barely jiggles)

 

Posted in 2014, Baking, Thanksgiving 2014, Thanksgiving Recipes | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving 2014 – Apple Pie

Apple Pie Filling:

  • 2 pounds Granny Smith apples (4 medium)
  • 2 pounds Newton Pippen apples (4 medium) 5 medium
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar to finish
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, from 1 medium lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
  2. Peel, core and cut the apples the into 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices
  3. Toss the apples with the 3/4 cup of sugar, lemon juice and zest, salt, cinnamon and allspice.
  4. Pour the mixture, along with the juices, into a chilled pie shell, mounding the apples in the center.
  5. Roll out another dough for the top of the pie.
  6. Trimming and tucking this dough underneath so that the folded edge is even with the edge of the pie pan. Crimp the edging or press with fork to seal.
  7. Cut vents in the dough top.
  8. Brush egg white onto top of the crust and sprinkle evenly with the reserved sugar.
  9. Bake at 425 degrees until the top crust is light golden brown, about 25 minutes.
  10. Reduce the oven to 375 degrees  and continue baking until the juices bubble and the crust is a deep golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes longer.
  11. Transfer the pie to a rack to cool to room temperature.
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Finally Back to “Normal”

We’ve finally finish most of the repairs to the house.  We just need to fix the apron on the master bath and pant the hall upstairs.

 

entry

The pantry has bright new paneling and hooks for coats and hats.  This was pretty easy to install and the hooks are much more sturdy than they were when we had them installed into the sheetrock with wall anchors.

kitchenIn the kitchen and dining room, the wood floors are beautiful, even holding up well with a large, rambunctious yellow matador.  The new stove from the salvage yard is great many thanks to the man that was able to restore the propane orifices. We also installed new faucets for both of the kitchen sinks, painted and found a great hand-forged pot rack on Craigslist.  If you look carefully at the kitchen ceiling, you can see another project to finish – note the dangly light fixture that the sheet-rock guys lost the bracket for.

pantryThis is not the best picture of the pantry, but I do love this antique cupboard we found on Craigslist.  In this room, we also installed the board and batten paneling topped with a beautiful blue paint.  The little black hooks that we ran along the top rail of the paneling are great for everything from butter paddles to feather dusters.

bathI think the guest bathroom is my favorite.  We continued the white paneling from the entry into this room and topped it with the most beautiful blue-green paint.  It was al of the samples of greens and blues that we had tried, mixed together into one bucket.  We added more black hooks and used an antique iron sewing machine base with a vessel sink to replace the old, rickety, white pedestal sink.  We also continued the wood flooring through the entry and into the guest bath, changing the direction of the boards at the sliding barn door that separates the entry from the dining room.

This “forced remodel” as we called it was really stressful on everyone.  It took about 5 months to have everything torn out, mold removed, re-plumbed, rebuilt, repainted and spiffed up.  We lived with tents, blowers, dehumidifiers, dust, debris, furniture in piles and weeks without a kitchen.  We had truly fantastic men and women helping us every step along the way.  Kind and honest and caring people and without them, I think I may have gone mad.  In the end, with their help, we have beautiful new Oregon White Oak floors finished with hard wax-oil, all of the floors and seven rooms have been freshly painted (still have a few to go), we have the softest carpet imaginable in the living room – made from recycled soda bottles, board and batten panelling in the pantry, entry and guest bath, a new (used) stove that preheats every time and all of the burners light, new kitchen faucets that don’t leak and everything seems clean and shiny. Maybe the most important part is that we have wonderful, new PEC plumbing and don’t sit around wondering when the next pipe will burst.

 

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Update – a long, dry, spell…….

I haven’t posted anything for a really long time.  Things around here have been in such an upheaval that everything else is just not happening.  I thought I’d post some photos now that the light is finally showing through then tunnel….

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The hole in the bathroom

Tearing out the bathroom walls.

Tearing out the bathroom walls.

…holes in the ceilings…..

…holes in the ceilings…..

…and holes in the walls.

…and holes in the walls.

Patching began in the entry…...

Patching began in the entry……

then on to the laundry room, bathrooms and living room.

then on to the laundry room, bathrooms and living room.

Finally, the kitchen ceiling was skim coated and retextured.

Finally, the kitchen ceiling was skim coated and retextured.

We began adding board and batten panels to the entry, the powder room and pantry.

We began adding board and batten panels to the entry, the powder room and pantry.

The Oregon white oak arrived and had to be spread out all over the rooms to acclimate.

The Oregon white oak arrived and had to be spread out all over the rooms to acclimate.

In the mean time, we had to finish ripping out the flooring and sub flooring in the kitchen and have new plywood installed.

In the mean time, we had to finish ripping out the flooring and sub flooring in the kitchen and have new plywood installed.

So now the floors are down and being sanded and filled.  They look great in the dining room…...

So now the floors are down and being sanded and filled. They look great in the dining room……

….the powder room…….

….the powder room…….

…and the kitchen.

…and the kitchen.

Next Week – the adventure continues – – floor sanding and finishing, paneling in the pantry, toilet and new sink installed in the powder room, new faucets in the kitchen, paint touchups, appliances reinstalled, and furniture back in place.

Still to do casters for the piano, tile repair in the master bathroom, carpet installation, garage sale………….

Posted in summer 2014 | Leave a comment

Here we go…….. Again

On April 22 we discovered that, once again, we had a broken CPVC pipe.  This is our third pipe breaking resulting in damage to our home.  This time it was under the powder room on the main floor  – two 1″ hot water pipes and a 1/2″ pipe all had been leaking for months.

IMG_0361The insurance company is fantastic.  They came in and set up dryers, hepa-filters and air scrubbers and began to dry the place out. The process they thought would take 2 days ended up lasting 12 days.  The photo is from inside “the bubble” were it was about 96 degrees.  The moisture in the floor decking had to go from 65% down to below 12%.

IMG_0359 IMG_0360These pictures show the damage to the flooring in the powder room (at left) and the entry (at right).  All of the flooring in the entry, powder room, dining room and kitchen will have to be replaced and the sheet rock repaired.

We thought the worst was over when the plastic bubble came down and the blowers all left (it was crazy loud for days) but then I stepped on the edge of the bathroom floor and notice an odd crunching sound.  Not only did the water damage the floor and the subfloor, but the decking was rotting too.  To make matters worse, while checking our the rotting boards, they found another broken pipe.  TheIMG_0395

IMG_0394The picture on the right is the rotten floor decking and that on the left is the hole in the bathroom floor and the bucket we use to catch the water from the broken pipe.  We have come to the conclusion that the entire house must be repiped and that spending another few hundred dollars to fix another leak that will just get ripped out with the repipe. So we turn off the hot water when we aren’t using it and empty the bucket frequently.

Hopefully we will be able to get a plumbing company in for the repipe soon.  The estimates are 7 days of work and about $9,000.00 with another $3,000.00 in dry wall repair to the walls and ceilings.

The bad news is, this part is not covered by our insurance.

The good news is, the living room does not currently look like this……IMG_0346

                                  ………………….. but it will again soon

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In like a Lion – March 2014

We’ve had a cold rain storm blow in this weekend, so much rain that our old nemesis, the leaky kitchen window, has started up again.  We don’t have the time to mess around too much, nor the money to have someone else mess around so we come up with a solution to hopefully keep up dry until summer.  We already had one patio umbrella on the upper deck over the hot tub, and several more in the garage so we added more layers of umbrella, it’s an umbrella wonderland.  Hopefully this will help!

I’m also, now that parent-student loan #2 has started, trying to save as much as possible to pay it off faster.  I spent about $31.00 (saved about $45.00) today on the weekly groceries – let’s see what that bought.

2 pounds of hot Italian sausage
4 pounds of chicken wings
lamb neck bones
1 pound organic ground beef

4 romaine lettuce hearts
spinach
1 green bell pepper
3 bunches scallions
8oz mushrooms
2.5 pound bananas
1 package baby green beans

12 hard-boiled, peeled eggs
1 container creme fraiche (splurge!)
1 bottle salad dressing – free
large container yogurt
white cheddar cheese
yellow cheddar cheese
cinnamon rolls – free
food color

We should be able to Fix

  • sausage and spinach orzo for supper
  • scotch eggs  with cheesy potatoes for supper
  • chicken wings  with green beans for supper
  • hamburger pasta with salad for supper
  • breakfast burritos
  • egg salad for lunches
  • bone broth (lamb and chicken)
  • cinnamon rolls
  • yogurt / banana smoothies

 

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