Wednesday, April 25, 2018

I remember my Mom cooking and baking up a storm the weeks prior to our local town's annual fair. She'd do baked goods and preserves for the Ladies' Auxiliary Table and ALWAYS was asked to make her amazing home made loaves of bread. 

I remember coming home and the house was always warm and smelled SoooOOooOooo good.
But I was always intimidated at the thought of making bread - even had a stint with a breadmaker (hated it - always too chewy) but never tried my own until THIS book changed by life.

Guys... guys. *For reals*. If you haven't tried baking your own bread - stop what you're doing, and get this book. It will change your life.

I've made so many of their recipes and they are (mostly) no fail!! I mean, I've messed a few up with my own snafus but - if you follow step by step -  You. Can't. Mess. This . UP.

I don't have any photos for some reason of the bread loaves (or boules, technically) that I've made. We eat them too quickly.

But this past week I found I had made bread and had a scant bit of dough left over - too little for a loaf and I'd been craving cinnamon rolls for ever soooooooo..... Cinnamon Rolls!

Rolling the dough was the hardest part. REALLY try to not overwork it or you will have tough rolls.
  Rolling out the dough was hard. Because it was bread dough, it's not as workable as enriched dough with eggs. It resisted flattening out and kept springing back. Eventually though it went into the approximate shape.
Cutting it out...looks like a cinnamon caterpillar!
After rolling it out & spreading about a third of the cinnamon mixture into it, I tightly rolled it and sliced it into about 2 inch wide pieces.  Make sure you use a well floured serrated knife & keep flouring it or you will get messy tears and they will unroll!

I used a round 9 inch pie tin to bake in. I sprayed it will Bakers' Joy (the best invention ever) and had a really nice warm oven at 350F ready to go. Another third of the brown sugar & cinnamon on the bottom of the pan, and the last third poured over the top of the packed in rolls.

So pretty. SO YUMMY. My house smelled amazing. 

ONce baked; you let them cool for NO LONGER than 10 mins; enough to let them firm up in the pan but then you gotta dump it out  onto a super large & deepish plate or platter. Make sure it's deep enough; you've got all the cinammony-sugary-goopy-goodness in there.

Oh yeah. Remember that cooked sugar is VERY HOT and do NOT get this on your skin. Ow.

I added extra brown sugar & cinnamon for 'extra' goopiness. Can you tell where I sampled? Nah.
 If you find that your rolls, once cooled off completely  are a little 'tough' (like, you have to get out your steak knife to cut it) just microwave it for about 25 seconds and it'll warm up and soften up nicely.
This just means you overworked your dough and it's 'tough'. Le sigh.
  Voice of experience here, people.

Anyway...this book is great. I heartily recommend it - nothing beats your own fresh baked bread!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Planting & Spring Planning


I love my garden.

But we live in a region where it's just not safe to plant little defenseless seeds in the ground until oh, June.

But then our season can be so short...that doesn't make sense. 
Your garden is just getting started ....when the blast of furnace heat hits mid August and then it's cold by September.
Le sigh.

SO what to do?!
Right now I'm starting my flower bed flowers. Marigolds, Morning Glories, Coneflowers, and a few others. I'll start the veggies a little later on in April; they have their own fancy greenhouses.

Start your seeds early, indoors.
Here's my mini slice of heaven, so far!

Soak your Morning GLories for a day or two, until they sprout.

Teeny tiny sprouts!
Transfer to potting soil. I use a blend of peat, organic seed starter, and potting soil. All "Pro Mix".

A little patience, and a warm spot out of the reach of furry friends.

I try to save & harvest as many seeds each year as I can. Storing them in paper bags.

Mixing my dirt - I love the "Pro Mix" brands. I have had excellent luck with them.

Splurged and bought the 72 pod tray for my Marigolds this year....

Marigold Sprouts after a few days! These guys go directly into the pods with the potting mix and a drink of warm water. Covered them up and they stay warm and cozy.

So here's today....can't wait until....

Herb & Tea plus Zucchini!

Herb & Tea garden!

Corn & Taters & Peas!

Muffin loves her soft springy lawn.