Monday, January 31, 2011

Milk & Honey Bread

This bread was delicious!  I have only baked bread once before a few months ago and saw this recipe on Tasty Kitchen.  I had all the ingredients in my kitchen, so I decided to quickly give it a whirl.

Begin by melting your butter in a pan.  After melted, remove from heat and add milk, honey and yeast.  
Allow the yeast to dissolve for a few minutes. 

You can really taste the honey in this bread... so yummy....

In a mixing bowl, combine salt and about two cups of your bread flour.  

Add your milk/yeast mixture to the dry mixture and "mix" on low speed until combined well.  

Slowly add in your last cup of flour with your dough attachment until a ball is formed.

Place dough in an oiled bowl and coat your dough with oil too.  Cover with a towel and allow to rise until doubled in size.

When dough is ready, punch down and turn out onto a floured work surface.  Knead dough slightly and you can either truly form the dough or just dump it into a greased bread pan.

This time, I actually formed mine.  It was like, folding... then kneading... then folding, etc.  
I think I did it correctly though....

If you form your loaf, make sure you place it seam side down in the pan!  
Allow to rise again until doubled in size. 

Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. 

While it's warm... SLATHER with butter and enjoy! 

1 tbsp butter
1 1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp honey
3 cups bread flour
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
3/4 tsp salt
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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Paint Stripping

So, while most people would think that we're living in "squalor", we have been in our new house for five months and are still working on so many renovations.  We have definitely learned that we would tear out bathrooms, rip out kitchens, replace windows, paint... and do it five times again... before we would want to strip more paint.  Stripping paint has been the most time consuming project of this whole house.  Why couldn't we just move in and paint?  You can't paint on top of chipped paint.  And it all was chipping.  Seventy-five years of crown molding, doors, windows, baseboards that were originally painted with oil based paint, were at some point coated with latex by previous owners, which means this caused a chain effect of chipping all over the house.  So, when we bought the house last February, we immediately gutted the bathrooms downstairs and kitchen.  While remodeling those rooms, we (Hank) were also replacing windows in those areas (13 windows)... and replacing sheetrock, etc.  As we did this, room by room we started pulling down crown molding, trim around windows, doorways and any other area that could be removed and stripped.

If it couldn't be pulled off, then it was stripped in place (mantels, baseboards, door jams, etc).  Now, lets keep in mind, we have FIVE mantels, THREE downstairs bedrooms, TWO bathrooms, ONE den, ONE formal living room, ONE formal dining room, ONE breakfast room, TWENTY doors, TWENTY-TWO sets of window casings... and I'm sure I'm missing a few things in between.  It's all being stripped.  Are you exhausted yet?  I AM.  Our attic has tons of trim waiting to be stripped, sanded, nailed up and re-painted.  While our main living areas (kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms) are mostly finished and livable, we haven't even started on some rooms.  We use our den as our TV room/family room... while the formal living room and dining room are work spaces. 

We have trim lined up on the wall waiting to be sanded, tables out for stripping, trim set aside on the floor waiting to be stripped.  We keep the doors closed so the "little man" will not get in there and we work on the weekends and some nights during the week... if we have the energy.

Here is an example of stripping paint.  Lots of paint.  Thick paint.  Old paint.


It's messy, it's obnoxious, it's tedious, it's messy, it's exhausting, it's time consuming, it's messy.

The only good thing about this is how nice the wood in our house is.  It's not like some new houses these days.  It's hard wood, quality wood, with wood grain that shows through even when coated with new enamel paint.  It has character.  It's beautiful.  And I know one day when we're finished (better be by next Christmas... you reading this Hank??)... we will sit back and appreciate all that we've done.  It's a labor of love.  But I'm ready for it to be over.
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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Blueberry Scones

Awhile back I made my first scones.... and while the first time they were a FLOP, the second time they turned out well.  So, I wanted to try a basic blueberry scone.  Nothing too sweet or complicated.... and I LOVE anything with blueberries!  I used the basic ingredients from the first scones and switched this one up a bit.  They worked really well and taste perfect.  

First, mix all dry ingredients together... flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. 

Then, with a fork or pastry cutter, add your chilled butter (cut in pieces) to your dry mixture and "cut" the butter in until it resembles large bread crumbs. 

Mix an egg and heavy cream together and add to dry mixture.

Then add blueberries... or any other fruit/filling you'd like... and stir until it just comes together.  


Turn your mixture out onto a cold surface.  The mixture will be very crumbly. 
Form into a circle with your hands and roll out slightly with a rolling pin.  Cut into triangles. 

Place scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking mat. 
Bake at 350 degrees until edges are slightly browning

 Let scones cool completely and then ENJOY!  ;)


3 cups All Purpose flour
1/3 cups sugar
5 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter (chilled)
1 egg
3/4 cups heavy cream

Linked to:  Hearth and Soul Vol. 30
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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I Wish I Could Share...

But I can't!  It's funny how many times I have seen cheese straws on recipe blogs lately.  I love cheese straws.  When I was little, we would go to my great-grandmother's house and she would always have this little covered storage container on the buffet in the dining room.  The one thing I knew I would find was wax paper.... the one thing I wish I would find was a cheese straw.  If they were there, I would slowly sneak back and continue to grab "one more".  Children have a skill with this... you know, to make it look like you really haven't eaten any.  We've all been there... don't lie to yourself.

I've never seen cheese straws like hers anywhere else.  I've seen long straws, short straws, squiggly straws, but none shaped like this.  Even the ingredients that I see on other recipes is completely different than those that my great-grandmother made. I have bought some too... expensive ones that do not compare in flavor and texture.

No one in my family makes these cheese straws.  Thank goodness my grandmother gave me the recipe... and thank goodness I can make them just like my Mama Brown did.  I will never give away the recipe... and I hope it stays in our family.  If I could sell them I would... trust me, they would be the best you've ever had.  But the recipe?  No way....  ;)
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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Mushroom Rice Casserole

You do not have to be a mushroom lover to like this dish.  I speak from experience... I loathe mushrooms.  But in this dish you can hardly taste them.  I guess that actually defeats the purpose of putting them in?  I have no idea.  Maybe it's that they add just the right amount of flavoring to make this dish special.  I'm not going to lie.... this dish is rich... and it uses a whole stick of butter.  But it's sooo yummy and it's one of those dishes that is better as leftovers or even the next day.  Something about it "sitting" seems to make it even better.

This is super quick to make and perfect as a side dish.  Enjoy!  ; )


1 can french onion soup
1 can beef consume
1 small can of mushrooms (4 oz, pieces and stems)
1 cup of rice
1 stick of butter - melted

Pour all ingredients into a baking dish and stir them together slightly.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until top browns.   

 This is linked to:  Hearth & Soul Hop vol. 29  
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