Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Almost Turkey Day!!!

This is a picture I took earlier in the year, but it shows some of what I am grateful for, the beauty I am surrounded by.
I have the turkey and the ham and all the trimmings, including my homemade cranberry sauce. Now all I need is Jim and my Thanksgiving will be complete. Well, actually it would be more complete if the kids, grand kids and great grand kids could all be here. That would be wonderful, but I will take what I can get. I also bought supplies to make Jim cheesecake, which he loves. I am thinking I will take half of it to Ellen and Scott, that way we will only be half as bad. Also planning to make cookies and pet treats, Charlie let me know he was disappointed that I was out. You know that look they give you, like OK, I was good, now where is my goodie??

The weather has been warm? in the 30's. I still have problems associating warm with temps below 50. With the sun and the calm air it really is pleasant outside, brisk would be a good description. It is nice walking the dogs around, except when Charlie spots or sniffs a bird. Then I have to hold on as quail explode around me, or a rabbit takes off. Charlie would have been a great field dog. I have been toying with the idea of seeing how he would do with agility training. Right now he is so hyper but I am thinking by the Spring he might be calm enough to work with.

I had mentioned perfecting my pizza making and Violet Lady asked for the recipe, so here it is. One important thing, make sure to use Bread Flour, it is high gluten and gives the dough elasticity.

I package of yeast= 2 1/4 teaspoon 1 Cup warm water 1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt 2 Tablespoons oil 2 1/2 cups bread flour

Combine water and yeast then add sugar. Have flour in mixing bowl and whisk salt into it, then add oil and liquid. Mix slowly, I use a spatula to fully incorporate the ingredients. If you have a heavy duty mixer at this point I attach the dough hook and mix until a ball forms. Mix for 2-3 min. You can also knead on flour covered surface if you do not have the heavy duty mixer.

Lightly grease a bowl, put dough into bowl and turn dough until all sides are coated with oil. Cover and let rise for approximately 20 minutes. This needs to be a warm area.

Roll out on flour covered surface using only enough flour to keep dough from sticking. I have also discovered that I can put the dough on my cookie sheet and kind of press it into place. Very important, using a fork poke holes all over your dough, other wise you end up with all kinds of bubbles in your crust. There is actually a tool you can buy, a roller with tines you can roll over the crust. Pre-bake crust for about 5 min.
Add sauce and toppings , return to oven and bake for about 10-15 additional minutes at 450 degrees.

I mention the warm area as the last time Jim was home it was chilly in the kitchen and the dough was not rising. I ended up putting the bowl in hot water, as I was in a hurry it still did not rise as much as usual and I ended up with a thick crust. It was still OK, but usually we have a thinner crisper crust. I have tried all types of toppings and like being able to monitor the amounts that go on. I was surprised at how easy all this is. The dough is the kind that is nice and stretchy just like the kind in the pizza parlors that they toss around.

I bake this on a cookie sheet and cut it into 9 pieces. Good luck and enjoy. I hope I have included everything.

I wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving, remembering what the day is about. No meltdowns over trivial things. Being glad for all we have and not worrying about what we do not have.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tis Tuesday once again

Trying to catch up on my blog reading, our blog world is so great and varied. Some make me really think hard, others make me laugh. Some of them make me wish I could teleport and go visit, or that they lived next door. I keep thinking we would have so much fun. It is also a great way to let us know we are not alone. We are not the only off the wall person, or someone going through crisis. Sort of a reaffirmation of our sanity or self. There are so many very talented people out there. One is over at Edie Marie's Attic and she has some of her hand painted plaques for sale. at this time of year when we are looking for something a little different these are perfect. I bet she might even do some custom ones if need be.

Speaking of different, I have a new type of pizza for my repertoire. I make my own dough and it is much easier to make then I had thought. So now I treat Jim to fresh home made pizza when he is home. This past weekend I made bacon cheeseburger pizza! Cool, huh. I took a jar of the cheese dip, medium heat. I spread that over the crust. Now, I make my crust and then bake it for about 5 min, then I put my toppings on. So, first cheese sauce, then browned burger, crumbled bacon and shredded cheese. He loved it, so something else to do special for him. I like making my own, this way I can control the quality of the ingredients, the amounts, etc. From reading the different sites when looking for a dough recipe I learned some other things. I remove the pizza from the pan and onto a wire rack so it can rest for a moment before I cut it. For the most part it will slide right off the cookie sheet, if not I just use a spatula for any places that stick This allows the steam to dissipate and the crust will stay crispy rather then soggy. I also found that it is best to warm left over pizza in a fry pan rather then a microwave, again you have crisp rather then soggy. I bake mine on a cookie sheet and then cut into nine slices. Always fun to learn something new.

Must stir my bones and make a start on getting ready for work, have a great day.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Another Friday, come and gone

I was looking at the pictures I have taken of the girls and Charlie outside. While they look good, I also see how much work needs doing. I think next year is going to be designated "The year of Painting". The plan is to buy the paint over the winter and by Spring I should have enough to get a good start. The buildings are sound, but have been neglected over the years and it shows. I am hoping by this time next year we will have a beautiful maize colored home, with nice white outbuildings. I really do have a plan, honest.

I continue to try to weather proof the girls home, and they continue to thwart me. The idea was that I would stack hay bales and this would block the wind. Their idea is that I stack the hay bales and they play on them and knock them down. At this junction we are at an impasse. I have one layer of bales topped with several broken up bales. Rather then a wall I have more of a mound. I suppose it will help somewhat, but I really want to cover up most of the opening. When the wind is from the South it blows straight into their house. The rug we tacked over the opening last year is now thread bare, they found it amusing to chew on it. So we continue, I get my exercise lugging the hay bales around, and they have fun. I guess it is a good trade off.

I am watching TV and Charley Gibson is on with a story about DJ Gregory. This young man has cerebral palsy, his gait is halting and uncertain. He had a goal, to walk all the PGA tournament courses this year and he did it. He has had operations on his legs, but walking is still a chore. His Dad was saying that his toes overlap and so the pressure on them when he walks is painful. Yet, this amazing young man kept on walking until he met his goal, over 900 miles. We complain and then someone amazing comes along and makes us look like whine babies. His spirit is beautiful and I wish him all wonderful things.

Best to you my friends

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Just a little more

At work they put out a lunch for the veterans and their wives, I thought that was a very nice thing to do. As I have mentioned before I am proud to be from a family that has fought for this country ever since the Revolutionary war. It gives me a great sense of belonging and feeling as if we have helped to make America as great as it is. So, to all those brave people who have served and continue to serve, Thank You so much.

I tried to get some pictures this afternoon of the snow. It was those great big fluffy flakes. If you double click on the photo you can see streaks, well those are the flakes. The wind was blowing and I could not capture a good shot. Of course in hindsight I should probably have switched it to a fast action setting, duh! Oh, well, will have to try again for another day, I am sure we will have much more snow in the coming months. If you click on Charlie's picture you can see the big flake on his face. He and Molly were having a ball racing around. The cold weather seems to energize them, just what I need! I keep reminding myself that in about another 6 months they will be much more calm.
Well, off to bed so ready for another day of work. Best to you all.

Rain and Sleet, Oh My!!

Sitting here I can hear the sleet hitting the windows, yuck. Hope I can get the car doors open to go to work. The nice thing about all this mess is that I am sitting here in a tee shirt. I am not wearing 4 layers of clothes to stay warm!! Jim had a long weekend and we tried the blown in insulation, went fine. So now the front room, entry hall and part of the stairway have insulation in the walls. The next time he is home for a few days we will rent the machine again and do some more. Jim bought 12 bales of insulation, it is cellulose and uses recycled ingredients, we only used 5 and 1/2 so have some left. He had to enlarge the holes he had first drilled, the hose fit in, but he could not angle it down the wall. It was also very messy, but we think the next time will not be so bad as we have practice. Insulation and the machine rental was less then $100.00, much less then if we had someone do it. He also put in 4 new storm windows, one he got on sale for I believe $35.00 and the others ran around $50.00. The windows have made a huge difference in the front room, before when the wind blew the curtains would blow out like the window was open. This would happen even after I put plastic up and anything else I could think of. So we are making progress for sure. Still do not have wood stove hooked up, need to line the chimney and then we found out we need to insulate the lining before we install it. This will make using the stove safer, will not have to worry about carbon monoxide or overheating. Even with the temps in the 20's the furnace does not run all the time, hooray!!

I thought this sunset was pretty, we get so many beautiful colors in the skies around here. I had always associated that range of colors with the ocean. Just another part of why I love our home here so much.
The girls heard us out in the yard and had to come see what we were doing. This picture shows just how much they have cleared. Not much left for them to eat, but they go out and nibble on the little trees. You can see where they have stripped the bark off. Trees are one of their favorite things. By next year we hope to have all the woods enclosed, they will clear all the underbrush and weeds so we will be able to get in and neaten things up. Lots of downed trees and limbs that need to come out, with the girls help we will be able to do a good job. There is also lots of old farm equipment out there.

Have a wonderful day my friends, I need to go get ready for work.