Bixby, Ducks, and A Few Updates

We had a very windy week. Like batten down the hatches and tie down the ducks week. Somehow a basketball ended up in our yard. While all the neighbor kids know to come ring the doorbell if their ball goes in my backyard, this one could have come from anywhere. So I let Bixby keep it. He’ll puncture it in no time and then it will become a tug toy for Scout and him.

Everything becomes a tug toy for them. Tree branch falls? Excellent, let’s strip down to a single stick and PLAY TUG! with it. Soccer ball? Let’s deflate it and then PLAY TUG! with it. Piece of trash in the yard? PLAY TUG! This is why I buy inexpensive bath towels, tie a knot in the middle and toss them in the yard and in their indoor toy box. Instant cheap and easy to replace tug toy.

I’m watching a cooking show as I write this. I so rarely have time to watch any lately. He’s making beignets, and if I actually deep-fried anything, they look sooo easy to make. Continue reading

Instant Pot Pancakes: Light, Fluffy and Fun

Whole instant pot pancakeQuiet weekend here, so I made a half batch

I just found out about a taste treat called Japanese Souffle Pancakes and I was discussing how they would be on my list to make soon. They are a little complicated and I knew I wouldn’t have time this weekend. Then my cousin Scott chimed in and told me about Rice Cooker Pancakes, a simple pancake recipe you make in your rice cooker. They looked amazing.

One problem. I don’t have a rice cooker.

But I do have a Multi-Pot (a type of Instant Pot) and I figured there must be an equivalent recipe. There were several. So I had to try it.

First, the pancakes:

Perfect Pancakes:

  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 1-1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups buttermilk (I use buttermilk powder and water)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 eggs
  • Opt: blueberries, cinnamon, pecans, bacon

Bowl, whisk

Whisk together dry ingredients, then add wet ingredients and mix until everything is combined. The batter should still be lumpy, you don’t want to overmix. Continue reading

Emma Makes The Rules

emma snuggled quilt

I try very hard to make the bed while all the animals are having breakfast. Because if I get slowed down for any reason, the cats take over the bed and object loudly if I try and make it.

And as far as Emma is concerned, the look says it all: This bed will not be made.

At 16, what Emma wants, Emma gets.


 

Gadget Post: French Bread Pans

I know JeffreyW has had one of these for years, including one for baguettes,  but just before the holidays, I finally took it out of my wishlist and put it into my cart to purchase.

For only fifteen dollars, this is a great addition to my baking tools. It effortlessly makes two perfect loaves of French bread.  Paired with my favorite bread recipe (here), bread was a hit on Christmas Eve.

What I really like is how simple it is. After the first rise (12 hours in my case) you shape the loaves, place them in the lightly oiled French bread pan, let rise again for ninety-minutes, do an egg wash and bake. No proofing cloths, no flat, shapeless loaves on a baking sheet. Just yummy, perfectly shaped loaves, golden brown on all sides thanks to the perforations.

I also made loaves to give away in my holiday food packages with berry jam.

Just writing about it makes me want to put together another batch.


 

Happy New Year’s Eve: What’s In Store For 2020

This fascinated me – it’s all the planets (RIP Pluto) in their relative rotations all in one planet:

Big plans for 2020. I have the Winter into Spring Cookbook in the works. And a friend and I are going to incorporate my menus and recipes into a Cozy Mystery Series, set in the fictional town of Duxbridge, MA.

Stay tuned….


 

Christmas Eve Dinner: Spinach Lasagna, Cheesy Garlic Bread and Lemon-Butter Green Beans

One of my favorite nights of the year. Friends come over for Christmas Eve dinner and then we watch a movie. Tonight: Strictly Ballroom, a quirky Australian treat by Baz Luhrman.

This year I had a request to make Spinach Lasagna again, I haven’t made it for a few years. I really like it because I can prep it ahead and the night of the party I’m not stuck in the kitchen.

On the board:

  1. Spinach Lasagna
  2. Green Beans Tossed w/Butter & Lemon Pepper
  3. Garlic Cheese Bread
  4. Ice Cream Sundae Bar

This recipe takes about an hour to prepare and another hour to cook. It easily serves 6 – 8. I made it on Sunday and refrigerated. It will need additional cooking time to bring the center up to temperature.

Spinach Lasagna

Sauce:

  • 3-15 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 2-6 oz cans tomato paste
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp oregano, crushed
  • 2 tsp basil, crushed
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled & finely grated
  • pinch of sugar (reduces acidity of the tomatoes)
  • Optional: ½ lb ground beef and ½ spicy Italian sausage, browned

Saucepan Continue reading