November 30, 2010

Hello, December

Well, we survived the holiday! Thursday at his parents. Friday at my moms. Sunday by ourselves with our own turkey (for leftovers). I swear I put on 10 pounds this weekend. I am still full. And as nice as it was... Never. Again. I can't do this again next year. Too many places, too little kids. We gotta figure out a different way of doin' things 'round here. But it was nice.

Even though our turkey got pushed to Sunday, it was absolutely delicious. I brined the bird again this year and then Ben smoked it in Trogdor. Wonderful. Came out perfectly (although Ben says next time we need to smoke with a lighter tasting wood.) We did a small meal, with just mashed taters, stuffing and rolls and of course that turkey. And tonight? Turkey Tetrazzini with the massive amounts of turkey I have left. I cut up the two cups I need and I still have what feels like the whole bird left.

Today is the last day of November. Holy sheep, this month flew by fast. On the last day (or during the last week) I start going over the past month. I review our budget, print out statements, go over my monthly to do list and see what I got done and what needs to be carried over. And this month...

I didn't get a damn thing done.

Ok, I did weekly chores. But nothing on my monthly list got checked off. Boy do I feel like a slacker. I wonder if it was just because I was gearing up for Thanksgiving. Or maybe because the cold makes me go all lizard and I slip into a lethargic state of mind.

Does anyone else get a little crazy and misplaced this time of year? I mean it's not even December yet and I'm feeling kinda nuts. I could understand if it was closer to Christmas, but I still have a month! Oh well, maybe I'll do better next month.

We did get one thing done this weekend. We put up the Christmas Tree:

Why yes, that is a hand knit tree skirt. I pulled it out of detention storage today and realized I hadn't woven in the ends yet. Further proof of the hell it put me through. I couldn't look at it anymore. But now, I am very happy that I finished it and it adorns my Christmas tree, ready for the presents it will hold.

And yes. It's a fake tree. I was ashamed the year we bought it. And now I adore it for it's ease of set up and take down. And that I don't have to water it.

Happy December,

P.S. Don't forget about the Anniversary Giveaway! You have until Thursday night to enter.

What's Cookin': Cranberry Nut Bread

I originally found this recipe at From Beyond My Kitchen Window and thought it sounded so good that I picked up a bag of cranberries at the store. Which is unusual for me - I don't normally make a recipe unless I have the ingredients on hand at any given time.

Then low and behold I see this recipe on the back of the bag of cranberries after I've finished making the loaf. Going back to read the recipe from the blog, I see she says it's from Ocean Spray.

I'm so glad I bought cranberries just especially for this. And I really wish I had bought more so I can make more bread. Maybe they will still have some this week.

This bread is so unusually good. The orange juice and cranberries make it very tangy and tart, but the bread itself has a gentle sweetness that balances it all out. I highly recommend trying it at least once. And I think I might make this into a cranberry season tradition.

As a note - to chop up the cranberries I would suggest putting them in a food processor if you have one and lightly pulse them to get a rough chop. I just put them on a cutting board and used a knife and... well. Those round little suckers bounce. Cranberries all over the place. Learn from my stupidity - work smarter, not harder.

Cranberry Nut Bread - makes 1 loaf
2 C flour
1 C sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 C orange juice
2 Tbs vegetable oil
1 Tbs grate orange peel
1 egg, well beaten
1 1/2 C cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 C chopped nuts*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a bowl or mixer. Stir in orange juice, oil, orange peel and egg. Mix well. Stir in cranberries and nuts. Pour evenly into pan and bake for 55 minutes, or until it passes the toothpick test**. Cool for 15 minutes, remove from pan, then cool completely before devouring.

Happy Eating,

*I used pecans for the mellower flavor.
** You know the one - Stick a toothpick in and if it comes out clean you're good to go!

November 29, 2010

FK: The Ombies

I think I'm creating a zombie apocalypse. Meet Bill II & Jane "Ombie". (That's what my kids call them. They haven't mastered Zs yet.)

These are the first out of the set of four (or possibly more) for my customer. See Jane's long hair? See Jane's dress? See Jane run? Whoops, wrong story.

Taking a small break in between to (hopefully) whip up the fingerless gloves, and then back to zombies! I'm nearly done with the first glove, so I am hoping to have them done by Wednesday, now that I've settled on a design.

Pattern: Bill & Jane Zombie by Meg

Yarn: Drops Alpaca in "Lime" and red and Knit Picks Stroll in "Dusk" and "Carnation"

Needles: US 1/2.25mm Susan Bates Quicksilver DPNs

YTD Mileage: Together they used up 155 yards, giving a new mileage total of 4.68!

Happy Knitting,

November 28, 2010

Anniversary Giveaway!

I can not believe it's already been a whole year since I started this tiny little blog. Honestly, I never thought I would keep it up. There have been many times I thought about shutting it all down. I think I was a little insane to start a blog with 2 year old twins and a 6 month old baby. Who the heck has time to blog with that?

But here I am, a year later and now I want share something with you all to say how glad I am for all of you that have found your way here.

I love all the comments I get and I read every single one of them. I know I'm not the best at getting back to every one - I try. I do fly-by responding between chasing small children down the hall way. I am so thankful for every one of you who has graced the doorway of my little place in blogland and I know it really would not be a blog if it weren't for the readers.

So in honor of this here blog's turnin' one, and in thanks and appreciation for all of you, I'm holding a giveaway....


Yep, I'm giving away my knitting. The Mandala II shawl that I completed this year. That link will take you to the project post.

I was trying to think of something that would be special, and after trying to pick out books or items that mean something to me, I knew it had to be something I knit.

Now one person will have something to wrap themselves in during this cold winter. Or, they will have a hand knit shawl to give to someone for Christmas! Easy Christmas shopping, eh?

So to enter, all you have to do is leave a comment saying what your favorite holiday tradition is, because I love hearing about family traditions.

You can enter until Midnight on Thursday and I'll draw a random winner Friday, December 3rd!

Good Luck!

P.S.: I should probably mention to family members that you can't enter! That would be unfair! Plus you could just ask me to knit you something. ;)

November 26, 2010

PSA #4658

Celtic cables on wee bity needles = Bad.

Celtic cables on wee bity needles with ink black yarn....

Just say NO! This bad idea brought to you by Too Much Turkey.

Ripping back and starting over,

November 25, 2010

What's Cookin': Chocolate Mousse Pie

Now that Thanksgiving is over and I have pictures of this ohmysweetgoodness shamefully wonderful pie, I can share the recipe so that you have it in time for Christmas! You must make this pie. It's horribly rich, but light as air. And it's so sinfully delicious. I made it for Thanksgiving today and all but one slice disappeared. Which is good, because I ate it when we got home. Hehe.

I made my graham cracker crust by smashing up one sleeve of crackers and mixing with about 6 tablespoons of melted butter and some brown sugar. Then blind bake it for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool completely before filling. Or you can use store bought. I won't tell!

Chocolate Mousse Pie
1 Graham cracker crust
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 C heavy cream
1/2 C cocoa powder
1 C powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 C heavy cream

In a large bowl beat together cream cheese, 1/2 cup cream and cocoa powder until fluffy. Add sugar, vanilla and salt. Beat until smooth.

In a separate bowl beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Fold into chocolate mixture. Pour into pie shell, decorate with a hand full of mini morsels if you'd like, and chill for about 4 hours, or until firm.

Happy Eating,

This post is linked up to :: Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

November 24, 2010

Week of Thanks :: Day 7

Today, on the final day of my Week of Thanks, I am thankful for the freedom I have been given.

I am thankful to that small group of people who got fed up so many years ago and left Europe for the ability to worship as they pleased.

I am thankful to those who have fought and died to protect that freedom along the way.

I live in a country where we all have the freedom to do nearly anything we choose. I can worship as I choose. I can wear what I choose. I can raise my kids as I choose. I've had the freedom to stay home, but I also have the freedom to work if I chose to. We've had the freedom to buy a house, when we want, where we want, for the price we want. We have the freedom to choose our leaders and who we want in charge.

We have the freedom to do just about anything. And for that, I am eternally grateful and thankful to those who have made it possible.

So as Thanksgiving comes upon us tomorrow: What are you thankful for?

Happy, safe and peaceful Thanksgiving to you all,

Avoiding Injury While Knitting for the Holidays

Thanksgiving had rather good timing this year in that this Thursday is the 25th. Exactly one month before Christmas. Which means, after you've stuffed yourself full of turkey, taters, cranberry sauce, rolls, casseroles, pies, and whatever other heavenly delicious foods will be gracing your plate... Those of us who knit only have 30 days left to get to it and finish Christmas presents.

I've decided to ease up on the knitting this year so as not to drive myself into a yarn induced panic. But I will still be knitting at least a bit and that means plenty of opportunity to ignore my body and possibly cause my fingers (or other parts) to ache and cry for mercy.

So in order to prevent that horrible fate for the rest of you, I'm reposting this list of things that I had originally posted last year on my long dead knitting-only blog:

- Take frequent breaks. I usually knit while we're watching shows on Hulu so I try to put my knitting down and take a break for a few minutes about half way through the show if I can. Also if you have been sitting for a long period of time, get up and walk around. You'll feel better. Or at least your butt will.

- Switch between projects with different size yarn and needles frequently. This is one I need to do myself. By having a change of size every once in a while you will be less likely to cramp up because your fingers won't be stuck in the same positions for so long.

- Sit comfortably. Many people think that any problems will involve just your hands, but you can also find problems in your back and legs as well. Try to sit comfortably, with good support.

- Try a different method. I'm finding that, for me, small needles and the English method are not going well together. I have been trying out the Lever, or Cottage style knitting and my hands are much happier that way. Or try continental. Switch it up. You don't always have to use the same style of knitting. Practice tension on swatches. Plus knowing different techniques will only make you a better knitter.

- If you are starting to feel pain: STOP. Don't keep going. You could risk seriously injuring yourself. Put down the knitting and leave it alone for a day. If you come back tomorrow and are still hurting, leave it for longer and give your limbs time to heal. No Christmas present is worth the possibility of never being able to knit again because you were just too stubborn. Avoid taking pain medication - you'll still be doing damage, you just won't feel it.

Merry Knitting!

November 23, 2010

Week of Thanks :: Day 6

(This picture best shows my kids' personalities: Jack on the left, being nosy and getting into everyone's business. Ty on the right, tinkering and deep in thought off by himself. And Duder in the middle, being very busy and a total goofball.)

Today am I am thankful for the abundance that God has given us. We have been blessed in so many ways. We have a beautiful, simple home on a small bit of land. Ben has been blessed with a good, steady job. I am able to be a stay at home wife and mother. And we have three beautiful, wonderful baby boys who I love to death (even when they are driving me absolutely up the wall). We have never gone hungry, our "troubles" are few, and we have been given the gift of a large number of family and friends that love us.

May your days be as abundant as ours,

Drive By Random

Good morning darlings! I'm busy busy today with baking and knitting (more on that later), but had some blog housekeeping (blogkeeping?) to do real quick and some random bits.

Hello, howdy and welcome to new readers who have found their way over from various places! I hope you enjoy your stay, but I will warn you it gets a little... weird around here sometimes.

First thing, it's been toes-and-fingers-falling-off cold here the last few days... Well, Ok it's been like low 60's. We're all wimps in California. But whatever temp it is where you are, I wanted to show you all that there fire to keep you warm. And hey guess what? It's (nearly) straight out of camera (SOOC). Pretty good if I do say so myself.

Thing the second: This blog's one year anniversary is coming up at the beginning of the month! Yay! Gosh, I can't believe it's been nearly a year already. And in honor of that, I'll be holding a giveaway! What am I giving away? Well I guess you'll just have to come back after the holiday and find out, won't you? It's a big one! Well, for me it is, and I hope you'll be excited about it too.

Remember Bill? Well Bill's getting brothers and sisters now. Apparently Bill's gorgeous, charming looks caused some people to fall in love with him, and now I have a customer! So I've been knitting Bills (and a Jane) and I'm laughing the whole way that out of all my knits, someone wanted me to make the zombie. My life cracks me up! :D

What shawl? I don't see a shawl. All I see is Bills!

And lastly, results from the poll are in! (Yes, there are 10 hours left vote, but I haven't gotten anymore votes in a few days, so I figure close enough.) Most of the comments said to leave everything the way it is - a jumbled mess of stuff! Which I guess is good because the blog is called "Little Bit of Life" not "Cooking" or "Knitting" and jumbled's how I roll. However, 3 out of 5 votes said more food, so I will try to be posting more recipes. I just need to get past the holidays. But I did put up one for a Chicken Bacon Frittata last night. Go check it out if you're thinkin' you need some bacony goodness!

Have a wonderful day,

November 22, 2010

What's Cookin': Chicken & Bacon Frittata

It's been awhile since I've posted a dinner recipe. I've kind of been in a dinner slump lately - same things over and over. We had delicious smoked chicken for dinner last night and I knew we would have leftovers, so this is what I planned.

If you're wondering what the heck a frittata is: A Frittata is a quiche minus the crust. Done in a pan, usually on the stove and finished in the oven (although you can do the whole thing on the stove if you want or entirely in the oven as well). You can fill it with anything you would a quiche. I love frittatas for two reasons: Great for leftover bits of whatever, and I don't have to make a crust! That, and my well documented love of eggs.

Today's frittata involves aforementioned leftover chicken, and bacon. Because bacon belongs in everything. Plus it needed something more and I'm missing any tasty veggies right now. Ben said a few green onions and it would have been an awesome breakfast dish. For different flavor variations try ham and cheese, or spinach, bacon and Swiss, or whatever else makes your skirt fly up!

If you have a different number of people than I do, I generally do frittatas with 1 egg per person plus one extra for good measure. This of course depends on the size of your eggs, but it's generally a good rule of thumb for this dish.

Chicken & Bacon Frittata - serves 5-6
1 Tbs butter or oil
1/2 small onion, diced
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 cooked chicken breast, cubed
6 eggs
Splash of milk
Dash of paprika
Salt & Pepper
1/2 C Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In an oven proof pan heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until it starts to soften. Add bacon and cook until almost crisp. Add chicken and allow to heat through. Meanwhile, beat together eggs, milk and seasoning. Pour egg mix over meat in pan. You can drain most of the bacon drippings before hand if you need to, but leave a bit to prevent sticking. Make sure meat is distributed evenly in pan. Allow to cook about 2 minutes, then sprinkle cheese on top and transfer the pan to the oven. Bake about 20-25 minutes, until cheese is melted and top is golden brown.

Happy Eating,

Week Of Thanks :: Day 5

Today's thanks is a little different.

Today I am thankful for Ben's job. Not that he has a job - which I'm definitely thankful for in itself - but for the place he works at.

My husband is a machinist and he works for a local mom & pop type oil tools shop. They're large enough, they just aren't a big snooty corporation. The owners are absolutely wonderful. They appreciate their employees and treat everyone like it. They are generous with the pay, as long as you earn it. There are many opportunities for over time and they give bonuses willingly as long as they can afford it. And they are very family friendly.

When Duder was born Ben hadn't been working there long enough to have vacation time, but they forwarded a few days to him in order to stay home with me and the boys while we adjusted to the addition.

And this year for Christmas they have decided that since everyone was asking for time off, they are going to shut down the whole shop and give everyone the week from Christmas to New Year's paid (not having to use our vacation time).

They really are a wonderful company, and I'm so thankful that Ben was able to get a job with them. It's been a really huge blessing for us at this stage in our life.

November 21, 2010

Week of Thanks :: Day 4

Today - well every day really, but for the blog today - I'm thankful for my husband. For, well honestly for putting up with all my crap. Because goodness knows there's a lot of it.

He's our provider, and a wonderful daddy. He's patient, and loving, and he's the biggest freaking goofball I've ever met. And he's given me 3 beautiful babies.

I've gushed on about him before, so I'll leave this post short so you don't all vomit from the gooeyness that oozes from me on occasion. Sorry, I can't help it.

November 20, 2010

Week of Thanks :: Day 3

Today, I am thankful for rain. Plain and simple, just like that.

We don't get much rain here in southern California, and as someone who loves rain that's really hard to deal with. But it makes it a very nice treat whenever we do get it.

To me, rain fixes the soul. There's nothing better than a dark, gloomy, rainy day. Relaxing, cleansing. You can't really go outside and do anything, so you have to stay inside and be quiet.

We are supposed to get rain all weekend, and I'm very happy for that!

November 19, 2010

Week of Thanks :: Day 2

I was trying to think of what to be thankful for today. I could say things like my husband/boys/house/etc., but I'm trying to go out of the normal and really look at my life and give thanks for the things I haven't really put into words yet.

I wasn't sure what to post until just a little while ago. On Fridays my mom- and sis-in-love try to get together to do a Bible Study with just the three of us while the next generation runs around together. Each family has been sick in turn for the last three weeks, and this week is mom's turn. So Bible study got cancelled yet again, but my SIL said we should just do a play date instead.

So she and her kiddos came over, I made mac & cheese and cornbread and we just hung out, talked and had a really nice time.

And I realized today's post needed to say that I am very, very, very thankful for having such a wonderful family that I married into. We all get along and I feel like I've blended in so well. It's almost like I was raised in that house.

I am thankful that Ben's parents are so wonderful, loving and accepting of me, even when I have screwed up. They always forgive. They are always willing to talk to me, or listen to me, or let me come over whenever I want. Ben's mom even told him once while we were dating that if we broke up she would keep me and he could leave. Hehe.

I am thankful for the extra brothers and sisters I was given. I am thankful that Ben's sister and I are having babies at the same time, so that our kids have each other to play with, and we can gripe to each other about what we're going through. I love each of Ben's siblings so much and I couldn't ask for a better "extra" family.

I know not everyone gets good in-laws, let alone ones that are as amazing as mine. I have been blessed immensely.

November 18, 2010

What's Cookin': Turkey Time is Near!

We're a week away from Thanksgiving! That means one week until delicious, gorgeous, succulent, juicy, coma-inducing turkey! I love me some turkey and I can't wait for not only the bird itself, but all the awesome turkey leftovers that come afterward.

In preparation for Thanksgiving I'm reposting my Brined Turkey recipe that I put up last year. It really is the best way to prepare a turkey. Brining makes the bird so juicy and tender. It's almost like insurance against dried bird. The salt in the brine breaks down the cell walls in the meat, thus allowing more liquid in and giving you a juicier meat. If you'd like more information about it, go here.

Now before I get to the recipe, brining needs to be done to a thawed turkey, of course. Thawing a bird in the fridge takes about 1 day per 4 pounds of turkey. So a 20 pound turkey will take about 5 days to thaw in the fridge. Which means you better get crackin' if you've got a large bird. You can also "quick" thaw" a turkey in cold water if needed. Put the turkey in the sink and fill it with cold water to cover the turkey. Replace the water as it starts to get warm. I believe it's about 30 minutes per pound with the cold water method. Don't quote me on that though. 

The Best Turkey Ever
1 Turkey
1 quart apple juice
3 quarts water
1 Cup kosher salt
1 Cup brown sugar
5 cinnamon sticks
1 Tbs red pepper flakes

In a giant pot large enough to hold the whole bird, combine all but 2 quarts of water on high heat. Heat until the salt and sugar has melted and the mixture just starts to boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Place the bird in the liquid and add the rest of the water, or enough to cover it completely. Place the pot in the fridge over night. If you don't have room in a pot, use a large bucket and just add the liquid after it has cooled. If you don't have room in the fridge, add a large amount of ice to the pot/bucket and that should keep it for a couple of hours.

About a half an hour before you are ready to put it in the oven, remove the bird from the brine, pat dry, and let sit for awhile to allow some of the extra liquid to drip out. I place my cookie cooling rack over the sink and let it sit on that to drip dry. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Place the turkey in the oven, breast side down (this keeps them juicy), and cook for about 3 - 3 1/2 hours. It's done when a probe thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 180 degrees, and the breast is cooked at about 160 degrees. This is about 3 hours and 15 minutes for our gas oven. Remove and let sit for about 20 minutes to let the juices redistribute. Carve and devour!

Happy Eating,

Week of Thanks :: Day 1

 We're a week away from Thanksgiving and I thought it would be fun to fill this week with things I am thankful for. One for each day. My mom-in-love does Thankful Thursday nearly every week, so I figured today was a good day to start. Although really, I am thankful for lots of things every day.

I am writing this at 11:00 pm Wednesday. This past week I have been suffering from a bout of insomnia. I haven't been able to fall asleep until at least 11, most times much later. I haven't had this problem since I was a teenager! I am thinking my kids must be old enough now that I am getting too much sleep! Ha!

My husband always says that it would be awesome to be an insomniac because think of all the things you could get done! You would have so much time! Right now, I am very frustrated that I can't fall asleep. But laying in bed made me think:

I am very thankful for time.

Time with my husband, time with my babies, time to read and knit and bake. Time to sit and relax (no matter how tiny that time is). Time to pay bills, and grocery shop, and write blog posts. Time to dream. And time to sleep, when it finally happens.

Time is a very precious gift that God gives us. And so often I don't enjoy the moment of time while I'm in it. But even when I don't use it to the best of it's ability - even if that means just sitting and breathing - I am very thankful I have that time.

Have a wonderful, thankful day,

November 17, 2010

The REAL Zombie Edition

After last Friday's post I realized that I had let you guys down. I'm sorry. There were no zombies. At least... that's what I thought... Then this guy showed up. And now he's everywhere!

Behind the T.V. Watching brains.

Behind the couch! 

In the kitchen! Hoping I'll make some brains, most likely. 

In the plants. On the look out for brains.

Going after the cats. (Not sure he'll find any brains there.)

And trying to eat people.

Pattern: Bill the Zombie by Meg

Yarn: Drops Alpaca (red and green) and Knit Pick's Essential in "Ash"

Needles: US 1/2.25mm Quicksilver double points

YTD Mileage: Total of all the yarns came out to 61 yards. New total is 4.59 miles!

It's been horrible. I think I'll sacrifice the kids first and hope that fills his appetite!

Reader Input - A Poll!

I love writing my blog, and I've tried to get better about updating as often as I can with 3 crazed hooligans running rampant.

I'm curious now, to know what you guys like to see. What's your favorite part, and what would you like to see more of? Since it wouldn't be much of a blog if it weren't for the people who read it.

I really should have put another option on there: Leave it alone - I like everything, keep it up! So if that's your option or you have any other suggestions, go ahead and leave it in the comments!

This is also a cheap attempt to see how many people are actually floating around out there. Just thought I would come clean with that.

Whadda Ya Wanna See?

November 16, 2010

I Love My Job

My neighbor came over last week and when I opened the door in my use-to-be-a-dress apron, she told me how cute it was. I explained what it used to be and she looks at me and says, "You know how to do that?!" Yes I do.

I was also making a giant batch of chicken stock at the time. When she told me it smelled really good and asked what was it, I told her and she just stops and says "Wow, you're really all Susie Homemaker, aren't you?"

Yes. Yes, I am. And I'm damn proud of it thank you very much.

When we got pregnant the first time, my original thought was that I would have the baby, take a few months off, then go back to work, towing the little person with me since my dad (who I worked for) had a large baby-friendly room in the back of the shop that I could use.

Then we found out we were having two and, well... plans changed a little bit. Ok, I guess I can still just go back to work and I'll make it work with two little people in the other room. Then our boys came three months early and plans changed again. Big time. The whole time they were in NICU I was pumping. Constantly. I tried to go back to work, put when you have two little babies to feed... Well it doesn't leave much time to do the books.

And without really talking about it, or thinking about it, or really planning for it at all, I became a stay at home mom as soon as our babies came home. It just felt so natural and right. 

To me, though, being a stay at home mom isn't just about being mom. I mean, yes, a great deal of my time is spent taking care of and raising my boys. But it's more than that for me. I run this house from top to bottom while Ben is at work. We were talking about it the other night, and I said that I considered it to be my trade off. If he was going to work his butt off so that I could stay home, it was my responsibility to take care of Home, not just the kids. Really, as much as I would just love to sit on my butt and knit all day it wouldn't be fair to him since he really works so hard for us.

And I wouldn't trade it for anything. When Ben's coworkers see the food that he brings to work with him they are all amazed that I can cook. Apparently, no one else's wives really do that. I'm proud of the fact that I can cook well and sew, and knit. Yes, I make all our own bread and I LOVE it. I'm pretty handy and can fix just about anything. I clean obsessively a lot to make sure it's all purdy when Ben gets home. I feel like I channel the women who were home and did it all, and milked the cows at dawn. We just don't have a cow. It's just all part of the job and I enjoy it.

Yesterday Ben came home and told me he had to show me something that made him very thankful. I had made a post on Facebook about making the kids dust while I cleaned the rest of the house. Then he scrolls down to show me a post from his friend's girlfriend saying "Dear house. Please clean yourself. Thank you." He said it made him very appreciative of what he has.

Mission accomplished.

November 15, 2010

What's Cookin': Pumpkin Pie Pancakes

Something about feeding people makes me feel good. It also makes me happier to be around those people, even if they're horribly whiny cranky pants straight out of bed. I think sacrificing your own time to take care of those around you, despite their attitudes, softens your heart. Even if you still sorta wanna lock them in a closet.

I also like to experiment with food and today was a good one. My experiments don't always turn out very well. But today I decided to take some pumpkin I had in the freezer, put it in pancakes and see what happened. It worked! They turned out delicious and the boys ate all but the three I had to squirrel away for my own sustenance. It was also a good excuse to use the pumpkin pie spice I got at the store and have been wanting to put in absolutely everything.

I put 2 teaspoons of spice in, but I think it could have used more. Add to your taste. You can also make them a bit richer by substituting melted butter for the oil. Also, depending on the amount of liquid in your puree you might need to add a bit more milk to make the batter easier to pour. 

Pumpkin Pie Pancakes
2 C flour
2 Tbs sugar
4 tsp baking powder
2-3 tsp pumpkin pie spice, to taste
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 C pumpkin puree
2 1/2 C milk
2 Tbs oil

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. In a separate bowl mix together the eggs, pumpkin, milk and oil. Pour over dry ingredients and stir until just combine. Let sit 5 minutes. Stir again gently before cooking.

Pour batter onto a hot griddle or pan, using 1/4 - 1/3 cup measure. Serve hot and enjoy!

Happy Eating,

:: I'm linking this post up to Beauty & Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday! ::

November 14, 2010

Ode to Butter

Sweet, delicious butter,
You fill me with... calories.
Creamy, fatty goodness,
Soothes my southern soul.
Healthier than margarine.

November 12, 2010

Fiber Friday - The Zombie Edition

It is Friday, right? I'm pretty sure it is but I've been fuzzy for so long now I'm not completely positive.

The Sick has taken hold of my children and I. So far Ben has escaped it, but it's coming.

I hate getting the brain dead colds. The ones where all you do is just sit and stare at walls. I've attempted some knitting, but it's pretty lacking.

Remember this? I started it back in March. It's the 2009 Goddess Knits Mystery Shawl. I got so enthralled in the 2010 shawl that I shoved this one in the closet like a red-headed step child. I think I've finally recovered from my last Big Lace Project (said 2010 shawl) that I can finally look at lace without wanting to stab the knitting needles in my eyes. Funny reaction for someone who really truly loves to knit lace.

I pulled it out at the beginning of the week and then promptly got sick. I've done about 5 rows on it all week. I had originally thought I would rip the whole thing out and redo it on bigger needles since I think it's going to turn out a bit too small. But then I realized that I was on the last clue - which also made me wonder why the heck I didn't just finish it before - and decided that if it's small I'll just call it a "shawlette" or maybe a "kerchief" and it'll be fine.

I've also started another pair of fingerless mitts. Well, to be fair I started them about two weeks ago with a design in mind that really wasn't working. So now I'm simplifying them with a lighter version of the design. I should be nice, easy knitting for those times that I can't do lace (i.e. when my children are anything but asleep).

So what are you all working on this week?

November 8, 2010

What's Cookin': Egg Pile

Ahh, eggs. I love eggs. Almost obsessively. Some days I'll be wanting eggs so much that I have them for breakfast and lunch both. Fried, scrambled, omelet, on a sandwich, in a salad. Eggs are awesome.

I also love baking season. It means 5 dozen eggs for $3.98 at Foodsco! When they're that cheap I'll buy a few big packs, since eggs generally last about 5 weeks once you bring them home. Then I don't have to worry about running out before next store trip.

Today's breakfast item was created in an effort to a) use up the french bread, and b) give the kids something new to try. They've gotten bored of just plain old scrambled eggs, so I try to mix it up with omelets or sandwiches or maybe go for oatmeal instead. But either way I try to keep breakfast hot and filling so they don't crash mid-morning. I've noticed that my kids suffer hugely from what Pioneer Woman calls Low-Blood-Sugar-Cranky-Butt DisOrder (LBSCBDO). Breakfast is usually a big effort in avoiding this horrible problem.

And now, on to the food!

Egg Pile - makes 2
3 eggs, beaten
Splash of milk
2 slices french bread, about an inch thick
Salt and pepper
1 slice cheese of your choice

Turn broiler on high and let heat up. Mix together eggs and milk and scramble over med-low heat until cooked, adding salt and pepper to taste. Meanwhile, butter each piece of bread and broil for about a minute, until the butter is melted and edges start to brown. Remove from oven and top with a mound of scrambled eggs and half a slice of cheese. Place under broiler again until cheese starts to bubble and just barely browns.

Happy Eating,

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November 7, 2010

What's Cookin': French Bread II

I have finally done it. I've made a loaf of french bread that was perfect in every way. The taste, the size, the texture.

 If y'all remember, I've tried making various versions of french bread before. It's been my quest to make good french bread at home. I think I've finally done it. I'm so proud of this batch.

I found this recipe online and I've tried it before, but I had some issues with the rise (due to user error) so I didn't want to post it. But I tried it again yesterday and it turned out so well that I knew it was ok to share with you now.

It's a little tedious in that you have to stir the dough every 10 minutes for awhile. But all I did was set the timer and went to do something else while I waited. Then you just have to let it rise for 30 minutes and pop it in the oven for another 35. The whole thing takes about 2 and a half hours start to finish. Which isn't anymore than any of the other breads I make so I really don't have to go out of my way to make french bread. And it was so delicious. Worthy of eating for dinner just by itself with a good olive oil. That's a good french bread.

"Fabulous" French Bread - makes 2 loaves
2 Tbs yeast
1/2 C warm water
2 C hot water
3 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs salt
5 Tbs vegetable oil
6 C flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water. In a large bowl combine the hot water, sugar, salt, oil and 3 cups of the flour. Beat well with a wooden spoon or in a mixer with the dough hook. Stir in dissolved yeast. Add remaining 3 cups of flour, mixing well until blended.

Leave spoon/hook in dough and let rest for 10 minutes. Stir again vigorously, then let rest another 10 minutes. Repeat until dough has been stirred 5 times.

On a floured surface turn out dough and knead once or twice until it is lightly covered with flour. Divide in half. Roll each half into rectangles, roll up from the long edge, and pinch to seal.

Place rolls seam down on a baking sheet. Gash tops with sharp knife. Let rise 30 minutes.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown.

Happy Eating!

:: This post is part of Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam! ::
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