Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas!

We had decided the sprinkling of snow we had here was enough for to give us a white Christmas.  Sure you could still see the grass a bit.  But we were happy with that.  And that we had.  Til the day after Christmas....Mother Nature must of been running a bit late.  We were lucky though as ten miles from us they were dumped on...over 20+ inches they received.  We only got around 10 inches.  Which is plenty in my book.  Out helping to shovel the driveway so Bill could get to work with me with a bad head cold was no fun. ;)

Wreath on garage.

For our Christmas dinner Bill made a request for my Braided Poppy Seed Bread.  I thought I'd share the recipe with you.  It is a delicious bread.   We had quite a bit left of it as I doubled the recipe.  Yesterday I cut the leftover bread up into cubes, seasoned them up with spices and a bit of olive oil, baked at a low temp (250°) until crusty.  I'll have yummy croutons that will last me quite a while. :) 

Braided Poppy Seed Bread

2 cups white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp nonfat dry milk (I never have this stuff on hand...I always use my Cremora!)
1 1/2 tbsp superfine sugar (I never have this on hand either...regular sugar has never failed me)
1 tsp active dry yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm water
2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for brushing
5 tbsp poppy seeds

1 egg yolk
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp superfine sugar
2 tbsp poppy seeds

1.  Sift the flour and salt together into a bowl and stir in the milk, sugar, and yeast.  Make a well in the center and pour in the lukewarm water and oil.  Stir well with a wooden spoon until the dough begins to come together.  Add the poppy seeds and knead with your hands until they are fully incorporated and the dough leaves the side of the bowl.  Turn out onto a lightly floured counter and knead well for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.

2.  Brush a bowl with oil.  Shape the dough into a ball, put it into the bowl and put the bowl into a plastic bag or cover with a damp dish towel.  Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.

3.  Brush a cookie sheet with oil.  Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface, punch down with your fist, and knead for 1-2 minutes.  Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces and shape each into a rope 10-12 inches long.  Place the ropes side by side and press them together at one end.  Braid the dough, pinch the other end together, and tuck it underneath.  Put the load on the prepared cookie sheet.  Put the cookie sheet in a plastic bag or cover with a damp dish towel and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

4.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  To make the topping, beat the egg yolk with the milk and sugar.  Brush the egg glaze over the top of the loaf and sprinkle with the poppy seeds.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom with your knuckles.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Enjoy!! :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

A new Christmas treasure...

Bill found this piano book at an estate sale we went to a couple weekends ago.   It's perfect sitting on the piano this Christmas.    I just love it.

I am still plugging away at getting my holiday decorations up.  I worked on the fireplace for a while yesterday.  This is below the top of the mantel.    The top isn't done yet as I need Bill to bring up some boxes from the basement this weekend that have what I'm putting on top.  But so far she's looking pretty festive. :)

I am thoroughly enjoying looking through everyone's blogs out here.  Collecting ideas from every one I've read.  ;) 

҉  ~ Happy Holidays!! ~  ҉  ~

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Trying to get in the Spirit.....

This holiday season is slow to come this year in our home.  Usually by now our home is fully Christmastized.  This year not so much.  With Mom passing in May and Bill's Mom just one month ago I'm finding it harder to get myself in the mood.  Oh we went out shopping for outside decorations and dropped a load of $ and put them up and they look nice.   I figured it would be hard this Christmas.    Bill is not one for showing much emotion when it comes to death..he is a you deal with it and go on kinda guy.  I try to be...but sometimes.....when a certain song comes on the radio or you see something or taste something of the season...well it's hard.  Being away from all my family during the holidays has always been hard.  I moved to NY 8 years ago and haven't made it home yet for one holiday.  Well thanks for listening to me ramble.  

Here's a couple photos so far of our holiday.  I haven't really even started my inside decorations.

Our front door wreath.

A little lighted tree from Lowe's.  We also have two flanking our front door.  It is in a weighted pot.  The only thing I added was the bow on the top.  This photo turned out a bit dark.  Sorry about that.  I'd show more of my photos from outside...but well they look just plain horrible..haha.  Not sure why  but maybe I'll get some better ones later.

This is the centerpiece I picked up at Lowe's for our dining room table.  Sitting on one of my many vintage tablecloths that I just won on Ebay. 

I had the day off work unexpectedly yesterday as both of the children I sit for were home with the flu.  So I started some holiday baking.  Bill has quite the list still he'd like to see me make. ;)

I hope all your holiday decorating and baking are coming along!  I love reading everyone's blogs out here and viewing all your gorgeous photos! :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Random Musing...

I've decided that I MUST have good taste as everything I bid on on eBay someone else wants also!  ;)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

In and Out...

I haven't had much time to put up anything on here.  Bill's Mom is living on borrowed time right now, my granddaughter was involved in an accident that killed her grandparents and 3 other from the car that hit them (she ended up with surgery for a broken ankle) and I'm working on finishing up my Mom's estate paperwork (she passed away in May of this year).  Eventually I'll be back to blogging regularly but right now...first things first.   I hope you all have a wonderful Halloween!  Eats lots of candy!! :D

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Yesterday we were planning dinner theater.  Dinner theater as Bill has coined it is watching a movie while eating. ;)  Well I had my bread made already (see blog below this)  Bill's steak was ready to go on the grill...I had decided not to have steak but have chicken wings (one of my favs!).  He was having homemade french fries and I acorn squash.  I had thought about dessert and was just too plain lazy to make it! ;)

I was cleaning up the kitchen a bit as so not to have so many dishes after dinner.  I'm standing at the sink doing dishes watching out my window and up pulls this van.  The side said Mallozzi.  I'm thinking..who's Mallozzi?  Then this man comes out with a box...a rather large white fat square box.  Oh what could it be?!? Knowing it was my birthday the next day (today!) I figured it was for me and I ran outside to meet the gentleman with the big box.   He handed it to me with huge smiles and left.  Ohhh it was a BIRTHDAY CAKE!  Oh yummy!!!!  One look at the top and I knew it was from my baby sis.  What a thoughtful sis I have!  She lives out of state and had ordered me a birthday cake.   I called her to thank her...she says "Everyone deserves a birthday cake!" Awww I just love my baby sis to death.  She even talked them into delivering to me....they don't deliver!  Except for  big occasions, ie weddings, etc - just usually not for the regular stuff.

This is my beautiful slap 5 lbs on each thigh birthday cake!    I'd show top of the cake, but she is a very private person out here and it lists their names on the cake along with mine so I'll just show you my yummy to die, for rich as you'll ever taste birthday cake.  It's a three layer carrot cake with creme cheese filling between the layers frost on the outside with butter creme frosting.  We had our dessert!  

 Aren't these flowers so pretty!  I love the color!

This is the inside.  The filling was the creamiest and the cake the moistest!

Villa Italia 
The cake was made by the Villia Italia Bakery here in Schenectady, New York. (Click on photo to check out their yummy site)

So stop over for coffee and cake  I have plenty!  We barely made a dent in this 10" cake.  

One more big thank you to my sis for making this a very special birthday!!! 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Do you smell that?

Inhale deeply and maybe you'll smell what I am smelling in our home! What's one to do on a chilly Saturday morning?  Bake bread to go along with that grilled steak you'll be having later in the day of course! ;)

My morning started out with getting around to take Fritz, our dog, to the vet for his shots.  Thinking ahead to dinner and steaks on the grill I thought some homemade bread sounded like it would be good with it.  Well since I woke up at 3:30 this morning and couldn't get back to sleep my energy level was low.  So I decided to make "Simple Crusty No Knead Bread".  from the book “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day,” by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François

You can view the video below, it will show you how easy it is to make this bread.  It is so SIMPLE.  We love this bread.  I use the recipe to make small buns with also.  YUM!

A simple Google will provide you with the recipe.  I highly recommend buying the book.  There are so many good recipes in it.  I purchased the cookbook Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: the Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking from Alibris for $16.75 (normally $27.95 new). This was being listed as “Like New” condition. I figured once I got it in my kitchen once it would be ‘used’ anyways ;) I’ve ordered used books before from Alibris and have always received excellent books.  And as always it came in excellent condition.

Our bread.....soon to be part of our dinner. ;) 

I have found that the crust will soften a tad when cooled.  I just pop the loaf back in the oven for a few minutes on low heat to crisp it up.  

I'm ready for dinner! ;)

Sweet Lisa Leonard Giveaway

I am new to blogging and giveaways.  But I am finding them so exciting.  Especially this time of the year...near Christmas!  

Please stop by Savvy Southern Style to enter her giveaway!
Savvy Southern Style

She is having a Sweet Lisa Leonard giveaway! 

click pic to enter

$40 to spend on any piece of her jewelry  AND  Kim is going to match this giveaway with a $40 gift card to either Target, Home Goods, or Pottery Barn.   So don't walk....RUN over and enter!  What a fun giveaway!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Getting all comfy cozy....

Enjoying Fall and beginning of my settling in for the winter. My new addiction....tablecloths.  Well not exactly new...but renewed?  I just love this new to me huge doily. I would never have the patience to make a doily this large...but it was easy paying for one. ;)  My first attempt at creating a doily ended up the size of a coaster.   Seems I've been on a mission lately buying up all the cotton vintage tablecloths I take a fancy to.  *grin*   I'll have to take some photos of them another time.   

I've not been on a whole lot in the past few days.  Between my wifi acting up and my youngest granddaughter being involved in a horrific car accident (5 deaths) this past weekend.  I haven't thought much about updating out here.  She's coming home today from the hospital hopefully.  So that is good news.  :)

I'll be trying to catch up on your many many blogs that I have missed this weekend.  That is if leaf raking doesn't take priority. *sigh*  Can't they just all fall at I can rake just once? ;)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Our last diversion...

Well we were on our way to go get groceries.  As we were almost to the store we saw an Estate sale sign.  Being me.....I whip onto the road just KNOWING I NEEDED something there.  Of course, being me, I found things I could not live without. *grin*

Here are most of the things I came home with.  Now....just to find a place for them! LOL
I think there was 16 qt jars and a couple small pint jars.  I just love the old jars.  I won't be using them to can but I do love storing my kitchen dry goods in them.  I'm thinking the $5 for all was a good price.


I've put one to use already.  It's storing my candy corn this holiday season!

An old shaving cup and brush.  I've always wanted one of these...why? Not sure..but it sure is cute and now resides in my bathroom.
A couple old wooden boxes.  I just love these. :)  I'm still tossing up ideas with these.  They may hang in my kitchen with some of my collectables living in them.

A tall old oil lamp.  I fell in love with this.  I had purchased all my treasures.  Looked at this and left to get in my truck....and ran back in to get this.  I knew that if I didn't get it I'd lay in bed and wish I had gotten it. ;)

An old milk can...perfect for holding my mums in out on the porch.  I just got some pumpkins to sit with it.  I'm not sure what else...but it needs to have company.   I'm not sure what we are going to do with this.  The top has been painted black the bottom is just rusty.  I love the rust, Bill would like to paint it.  We'll see.

 I love picking up old books.  I have a small collection of books.  Okay...I confess...we have enough to fill a small library. ;)  But we both love books and reading.  Bill found this 1st edition book and knew I'd just love it.  He was right.

We love to decorate for Christmas.  We had to have this.  I thought this was the cutest little planter.  It's made by Inarco.

I guess I'll have no excuse for not making cutouts this year. ;) A whole variety of copper cookie cutters.

Quite a variety of kitchen utensils, etc.  I just love 'old' kitchen things. I am always collecting kitchen gadgets.  Now just to figure out how to display what I've collected!

And finally...This is a Triomphe 3L jar made in France.  That was destined to hold my popcorn kernels.  That was changed once I got home and our rice went in it.  It was perfect for our rice. :)

We then left to go shopping.  I kept thinking of the blue dinnerware that I had spied in one of the rooms.  Sooooooo on the way home we stopped.  I told Bill if it was still there it was meant to be mine...if not oh well.  Sounded was still there. ;)

Blue Willow, Churchhill Dinnerware, Made in England.   I just love it and plan on finding more pieces to go with it on my travels. :)  It's service for twelve.  Between the plates there was an Open Stock Order form with the web address (Heritage Mint) for ordering. I could go out and check the prices.  I went out there....I'm thinking I got a really good deal. ;)

If you've gotten this far I thank you for sifting through all my treasures.   There's nothing like the feel of a good deal! :)

A quick in and out...

I have been having some troubles with my wifi internet connection and I'm in and out right now until I get it figured out.  Hopefully when I get home from shopping it will have resolved itself.....wishful

I did want to thank everyone who has stopped by my new blog and welcomed me.  I think bloggers are some of the nicest people on the internet! :)   Y'all have just welcomed me with open arms.  I so appreciate all the kind words you've all  posted.

Should my wifi get worse I may just have to steal time on Bill's computer.   ;)  Have a wonderful day!  :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Found Treasures

I love finding things I love for free.

I found this along side the road during Spring cleanup.  I know it's Fall now so this isn't's a new blog. ;)  I still need to work on putting the cover back on (you can see it sitting to the left of it on the floor) and I would like to find a belt for it. The broken one was in one of the drawers. The pedal moves like cutting butter.  It's not in perfect condition, but then I'm not one that needs perfection...if I love's 'perfect' for me.  My grandmother had one of these and I always loved it and wished I had one. I was overjoyed to see this sitting waiting for me along side the road. Especially that it was free is good!  Now I need to just quit moving it around the house and work on getting it fixed up. ;)

Monday, October 4, 2010

I think I CAN... I think I CAN!

Do you can?  I have over the past couple years started trying my hand at canning surpluses from our garden or from great values picked up at the local farmer's markets.
I've been trying my hand at breadmaking and wanted to try bagels.  We went out to pick up some malt so I could try my hand at bagel making.  Many, many dollars later with NO malt in hand I had these beautiful red sweet peppers that I now needed to do something with.  Isn't that how it always goes?  You go out for one thing and end up with a cartload of things you weren't intending to get but discover you cannot live without! ;)

I'm thinking I needed to clean the freezers out to make room for my new acquisition.   Forty six of them to be exact and most of them were HUGE!  If you put your thumbs together  and then pointer fingers together and form a circle that is how large these peppers were.  (yep..I see you forming your fingers in a circle! haha)  We picked up this bushel for $21 at the local farm market.  I didn't think this was a bad deal at all, they will make many fine meals.

I thought I would slice up and freeze the majority of them and maybe dehydrate a bunch also and maybe can some too!  I was so full of energy at just the thought of all the yummy meals I'd get from these peppers.   I love nothing better than caramelized onions and peppers atop any meat.  I was such a happy camper!

Aren't these just gorgeous!


I had started out the day with high hopes of getting all of my red peppers that I purchased taken care of.  Whether frozen, roasted or dehydrated I was set to accomplish everything .  I managed to get the roasted ones done.  We ended up with a clogged drain which unfortunately involved the drain my kitchen goes to.  So it was NO fun cooking with not using my sink.

Here is my first ever adventure in roasting red peppers and canning them.  My house smelled like roasted peppers...which smells delicious!

I decided to roast my peppers on our grill as I have an electric stove and figured it would be much easier to get the char I wanted.  Here they are all lined up pretty.

 As they began to char I thought I'd stick on the few jalapenos that I had.  Maybe giving a couple of the jars a zing to them. 

I guessed they were done.  I had never cooked anything that wasn't done until I burnt it. *grin*

Into the bucket they went and got covered waiting for the steam to loosen the skins making them simple to take off.

Here I am taking off the skins and removing the seeds, membranes and cutting them up into the size pieces I wanted.

Boiling my lids and rings: (I love the steam in the photo)

I sterilized my jars and now I'm going to fill them.

Into my pressure canner and waiting 35 minutes for them to process.  Check out the reflections of my kitchen in the top of my pressure eh? ;)

I ended up from all those red peppers that I had on the grill into 6 pints of roasted peppers.  In two of the pints I also added the jalapenos.

I think they turned out pretty well for a first ever attempt at canning peppers.  The next day I sliced up and dehyrated up the rest of my pepper treasure.

I hope I haven't bored you with my little book here of canning...but I thought some of you that have never tried canning would see how easy this is.

Onto my next adventure in canning.....maybe spaghetti sauce next summer if my tomatoes from my garden do super well!

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