EGGstraordinary EGGstravaganza

Oh yeah, that’s right….it is Friday.

Well, let me begin by explaining.  The Amish sell pullet eggs for .40/doz.  (Yeah, that’s 40 cents!)  My neighbor asked me if I wanted some eggs. I said, “Sure!”  Little did I know that meant 15 dozen.

Terra, what do you do with 15 dozen eggs!!??  Well, my friend, I’m glad you asked.

I started frying them.  And since I have only ONE frying pan, it was beginning to take quite a while.

Then, I came up with an AMAZING idea!  My mom used to let us cook eggs in the microwave.  (I don’t own a microwave, but I have an oven….)  Instead of sticking them on a cookies sheet–which I thought might possibly turn out a teeny tinny bit messy–I opted for my muffin pans.  One egg per hole.

I baked them at 350 for 15 minutes.  BUT they weren’t quite done all the way.  Ok, so they would’ve been done enough for my dad, or anyone else who likes their eggs “over easy.”   I wanted to freeze these, and I wasn’t sure how well that would work out.  SOOOO, I poked a hole in the yolk.  (You can see the fork holes in some of them.)

This is after they were cooked.  I cooled them on a rack and then froze them between sheets of wax paper.  BONUS:  They fit perfectly on an english muffin.  Since Ben has an “Egg McMuffin” knock-off every morning for breakfast, I pretty much scored!

Now, I have a freezer full of eggs.  The only thing I’m not actually cool with is that I think they would freeze better if they were scrambled.  I did this project a while back, and you can tell the eggs don’t taste quite as fresh anymore.  I know that Bob Evans sells a frozen breakfast sandwich with egg.  It keeps well.  The eggs are scrambled.  All in all, it was a good idea.  With the tweak of scrambling, I think it would be PERFECT!

Advertisements

Five Star FLOP

“Pride cometh before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” 

 Well, I was so stinking proud of myself, I should have seen it coming.  I had planned out a VERY budget friendly menu for the week.  I had done a “perfect” shopping trip: I actually got everything I needed for the week, without missing anything.  I stuck to the list, without the optional “write-in.”  I used coupons.  I hit sales.  I was AMAZ-O-MOM!!!!  I. I. I.  It was all about ME. Saturday meal: perfect.  Sunday: perfect.  Monday: flawless. Tuesday: wonderful.  Wednesday: uh….

I had put myself pretty high up on the pedestal for about half of the week.  Wednesday’s scheduled meal was supposed to be slow cooked roast beef with brown gravy, onions, carrots, potatoes, buttermilk muffins, and a tossed salad.  Sounds great.  Especially considering I had high hopes for the leftovers to become Thursday’s meal.

So….about noon I decided it was time to put the roast in the crockpot so it wouldn’t be overdone by dinnertime.  I went to the fridge and much to my surprise, there was NO roast.  I know I bought one.  I stood in the aisle for 10 minutes deciding on which one to get. (The smaller more expensive one or the HUGE cheaper one that was also marked down because it was close to date?)  I found my receipt.  Yup.  I was right.  I bought the roast.  BUT where is it???  I looked in every nook and cranny of the crazy fridge.  NOT there. period.  By now, I was frustrated.  I’ve already lost my keys today.  and my purse.  and the phone.  and…. and… and.  Then. it. hit. me.  I bought the cheaper one.  I had been sooooo proud of myself for that buy.  I stuck it in the freezer to make sure it didn’t go bad.  Well, now, isn’t this a pretty pickle? It was SOLID.  It certainly won’t be overcooked.

I needed a plan B.  In most cases, that would have been Thursday dinner.  Whoops!  Thursday is based on Wednesday’s leftovers!!!  argh!  Friday’s dinner, you ask?  No can do.  Fridays are special.  We always have homemade pizza on Fridays.  Saturday?  No plan yet.  I plan for Saturday to Friday.  Sooooo….  Quick check of the pantry and fridge. Here’s what I came up with.  Pigs in a blanket. carrots.  left-over-from-four-days-ago hot dogs with mac & cheese.  grapes.

So that’s what I did.  I whipped it together.  And went into dinner feeling defeated.  No one likes steamed carrots.  I didn’t even use butter.  I learned my lesson.  I will not be so prideful about menus again.

It turned out that after I learned my lesson, I got the good news.  Buddy asked for thirds (and fourths, but we were out).  Ben gave the carrots 5 stars (if you know him, that’s hard to do; loaded mocha brownies only got 4).  The whole family commented that it was GREAT!!

Thankfully, God had been working on me enough to keep that pride from rising back up in me.  I’m still humbled, however, I’m also thankful that I discovered a way to make “5-star” (according to Ben) carrots.

That said, here’s what I did.

Put 1/2 pound baby carrots (or regular carrots cut to about that size) into a pan that has a lid with about a 1/8″ water.  Heat covered until the fire alarm goes off. (Not really, but mine did.)  The goal here is to get the carrots soft.  If and when the pan goes dry, add about a 1/4 cup water.  Bring to a boil.  Add 1/4 c. sugar, 1/4-1/2 t. rosemary, and 1/2 t. garlic powder.  Continue to cook covered until they are soft enough to easily bite through.  Serve hot.

a Sticky Situation.

To those of you who may have a special diet:

This is most likely not for you.  It’s not: low-cal, low-fat, low-carb, or low……-anything.  The only thing it might be low on is will-power.

Sooo, I’m doing another food post today.

There is this recipe out there for the world’s most amazing cinnamon rolls.  You may have heard of them, they’re by Pioneer Woman.  But the recipe makes an extraordinary amount of them.  I decided to 1/4 the recipe so it would only make a dozen (a 9×13″ pan).

Scald milk, oil, and sugar.

Scald?….scald?…..What in the world does scald mean in cooking?  I know if you put a kid in the tub with the water too hot, he will be scalded.  So, I ran to the sink turned the water on as HOT as I coud and threw the pan in.  BIG MESS.  I don’t think that what I was going for.  Google it.  heat until just before boiling.  got it! (author’s note:  I didn’t really throw the pan in the sink.  The sink bit was just to funny of a thought to leave out.  I just googled it.  And then looked it up in a cook book.)  Cook book says “stirring constantly.”  Whoops!  Didn’t notice that until it was all said and done.  Let’s hope it’s still ok.  That would stink to ruin the whole batch just because I didn’t stir constantly.  By the way, after scalding, it should be frothy like in the picture.

Then set a timer and let it sit there.  and cool.  to lukewarm.   (about 1/2 hour to an hour).  I did a load of dishes.  Add yeast.  let it foam.  Then add some flour cover and let it sit again.  One full hour.  This is soooo time-consuming.  Not labor intensive, just time-consuming.  It’s a waiting game.  I wrote a blog post and got a spot cleared off for rolling these out!  Oh yeah, and I cooked a pound of bacon, but you’ll hear more about that in a minute.

Then add more flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Roll out on work-surface into a rectangle.  Here’s where I started to diverge.

Rub a half stick of butter on the dough. Pour sugar on top. Add cinnamon (more than you wouldthink necessary)

Now for the AMAZING part:

You remember that pound of bacon I mentioned earlier?  Yup!  cut it up and distribute evenly over the whole thing.  Then roll it up.  Slice with dental floss.

Put ’em in a greased pan and stick it in the fridge.  (Because who really wants to make cinnamon rolls at midnight?  and who really wants to eat cold cinnamon rolls in the morning?  NOT me.)

Next morning:  Pull the pan out of the fridge as soon as you wake up.  Do whatever you have to do to wait out the next 30-45 minutes including preheating the oven to 450.  Rolls MUST rise, or they won’t be wonderful.

FINALLY, you can put them in the oven for 18-20 minutes.  That’s all the longer you have to wait for your decadent breakfast.

BUT first, you must make the icing.

-2 c. powdered sugar

-enough instant coffee for a large mug mixed into 1/8 c. hot coffee (wow! that’s some strong beverage!! I used Starbuck’s Via because it is micro-ground and dissolves better.)

-2 t. maple flavoring

-1/8 c. milk

-1/3 stick melted butter

-1/8 t salt (or more, depending if you’re in the mood for salty-sweet)

Mix all that together.  Ding!  They’re done…..But Not quite.  See those are naked cinnamon rolls.

 Now smear the icing on top and enjoy warmmmmm……  yumm. It looks like a LOT of frosting, but really it’s just right.

Personally, I could just eat the icing alone.  It was more wonderful than anything I’ve ever put in my mouth.  Ben liked it too!  In photo 3 he’s trying to catch the icing dripping off his lips.

Hopefully this one goes over well what with all the “bacon-hype” lately.  (yeah, I saw the bacon bouquet on Valentine’s Day!)

Birthday week

I look forward to this week every year.  It starts off with my birthday (!) and then there is another birthday 3 days later and wraps up with yet another birthday on the 7th day.  Whew! Check out the math on that! 

3 birthdays * 1 week = HUGE sugar intake!!

Yup, I make a separate cake for each child.  [Mostly because I felt short-changed about having a birthday only 2 days apart from my brother and having to share parties and cakes.]  This year I even decided to forego my own cake (gasp* unheard of, I know, but you gotta do what you gotta do.  If it makes you feel any better, we DID have ice cream.)  So, we are currently trying to bring the kids down off of their sugar highs and hide the remainder of the cake so that they don’t dive into it for breakfast. (like last year)  Anyway, enough about that…..here’s what you’re here for:

PhotoOp Friday.

Calzones

Usually, when I do calzones, they are pretty “status quo,” as far as calzones go anyway.  Bread dough wrapped around cheese and sausage dipped in spaghetti sauce.  I decided to go a little more “exotic” this time.  Eggplant: check.  Shallots: check.  sun-dried tomatoes: check.  Garlic: check.  Fresh thyme: check (editor’s note: we could all use a little extra thyme). Fresh bread dough: check. Mozzarella: check.  Parmesan: check.  Mix first 5 ingredients over med-high heat.  Roll out bread dough into 7″ rounds.  Dump mixture onto dough. Add mozzarella.  Seal dough like a pocket.  Poke holes in top.  Brush with oil (or spray on cooking spray).  Bake @425 for 15 min., or until golden brown.  Sprinkle with parm.  Eat quickly, before they’re all gone!!  YUMM-O! 

The APPLE PIE post (take: 2)

For those of you who checked out my blog on Fri and opened up “As American as baseball and…..,”  I’m sorry.  I had this great post all ready to go and somehow totally forgot to save it.  Whoops.  I had scheduled it to post because I was actually out-of-town on Friday.  I realized the problem while I was in the car pulling out of the driveway (I had the laptop for movies for the ride and it was still able to pick up the wi-fi), but it was too late to fix it.  SO, here is the real post.

This post started a couple of weeks back.  My bestie–who is also a home school mama–called and wanted to know if I wanted to go to the apple orchard with her and her kids for a field trip.  Well, YEAH!!!  (Field trips are the best part of homeschooling.)  So, we set a date and made our plans.  Her four kids + my 3 oldest (Tyker stayed home with Daddy because Daddy had the day off and TONS of homework) =7 children.  Her husband also had the day off so he came along too!  We went to the apple orchard and everyone got free samples of fresh pressed apple cider.  We also picked up some of Sunrise Orchard’s legendary apple cider donuts and a couple of HUGE bags of apples.  Then, we stopped at a corn maze (maize maze–had to throw that one out there) and Puddi got “lost.”  She didn’t really get lost, but she thought she did.  The 2nd oldest daughter (8) of my friend found her and was deemed a HERO!!  All in all it was a BLAST!!!!

So…..then I arrived home with an extraordinary amount of apples and NO clue what to do with them.  Hmmmm…..apple pie sounds great!  So I pulled out my favorite pie crust recipe.  I have NEVER tasted a better pie crust (and I made it, which is ironic to say the least).  This recipe breaks all the rules of pie crust-ity, but turns out phenomenal every time.  I have also heard wonderful things about “Grandma Ople’s apple pie” from allrecipes.com, so that’s what I used as the filling (5 stars with 5,487 reviews can’t be too bad, right??).

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s my 8,000 words for you today:A huge amount of apples.Notice the extra apples still left in the bowl?  Even with the 4″ high apple pie…A lattice crust…just for funCheck out that apple pie ooey gooey-ness!yummyThis is my piece.Here is the crust recipe just in case you wanted it:

soup

I used to LOVE to eat soup.  It was one of my favorite things to just sit down with a HUGE bowl of soup on a cold day and sip it out of a shovel-sized spoon.  Then, I got married and we started a family.  Now, we aren’t really a big soup family.  With 4 kids 4 and under, soup usually is less like food and more like art.  I made a personal vow many years ago that I would not be one of those ladies that makes four different meals for the four members of her family because of personal preferences.  [I won’t do chili for Ben,  chicken for me, hot dogs for Buddy, green beans for Puddi, and mac & cheese for Belle. The only one who gets special treatment is Tyker because he still isn’t eating solids and I don’t think formula would go over well with the rest of the family.]  Anyway…..back to soup.

Soup is messy and because of that, I have avoided it for the last 4 years.  Well, today I decided to take a risk.  I’m not talkin’ a little “Campbell’s chicken noodle soup” kind of risk either.  I’m talkin’ BIG RISK.  Like huge risky risk!  I was on my way back into the house after going to get the mail and looked over at my garden.  There in the wasteland of summer past lay a gigantic butternut squash.  Hmmmm….I don’t remember seeing you there, little fella.  I wonder what I should do with you?  I know, I’ll pick you and turn you into……a……pie?  Nah, too busy for crust today.  uh…..casserole!….eh, I’d probably be inclined to drown you in maple syrup (and I’d like for this veggie to not be dessert).  SOUP! That’s it!!  I’ll turn you into soup.

I dragged that honkin’ butternut squash into the kitchen.  Pulled out the biggest, scariest, sharpest knife in the house (ok, no, I didn’t break out the sawzall), but it was a BIG knife.  I lopped it in half and stuck it in the oven, cranked up the heat to 375, and waited for the magic to happen.

Meanwhile back at the ranch (couldn’t help myself there), I cut up an onion, some celery, and a carrot.  Here’s the secret to almost all food.  Carmelize! And carmelize I did.  About the same time that the veggies in the skillet were getting done, the monster squash was getting pretty soft.  I peeled off the skin, chopped it up (this is beginning to sound gruesome) and threw it in with the smokey sweet yum in the pan.  I let it all get nice and muddled together, then transferred it to my blender where I added homemade chicken stock (just enough to get the blender to stop shrieking at me).

At this point, I put my “soup” in bowls and garnished with sour cream and bacon.   Serve hot with a BIG spoon (and the loaf of homemade bread I made to dunk). 

Here’s the verdict

Buddy – asked to have it for dinner tomorrow night.

Puddi & Belle – preferred the bread

Me – I liked it.  A LOT!!!

Ben – “not bad”  [actually, after the meal, he admitted that he really did like it, but was a little wary of saying so after the first bite just in case he had gotten a hold of the only good bite.]

And the best part, my dining room didn’t turn orange!

The Bread that WOULDN’T die

So, I have this recipe for bread.  I found it on the internet.  It calls for 300mL of this and 500g of that.  Well…I decided to unmetricize Americanize the recipe.  And then I realized that is kind of difficult given that “g” is a measure of weight and I measure flour by volume.  Oh boy, this is gonna be fun!

here is the RECIPE.  We’re talking 6 ingredients, 1 rise homemade yumminess:

500 g all-purpose flour (or substitute up to 125 g mixed grain or whole wheat flour)
1 packet (7 g) yeast
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp oil
300 ml warm water

In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Make a large well in the dry ingredients and pour in the water and oil. Mix together until you have a shaggy dough.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 7 to 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Shape and ease the dough into a 2-lb loaf tin and cover loosely. Let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to an hour.

Preheat the oven to 200 C / 400 F. Once risen, bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, until the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
Cool on a wire rack.

Well, at least my liquid Pyrex measuring cup is marked in mL.

So I fill it up with 300 mL warm water and dump it in my bread machine bowl.  Then I add 2 1/4 ish tsp. of yeast (because I buy my yeast in bulk and that is the equivalent of one yeast pkg), and the sugar….letting it get all “yeasty-like”….

then I add the oil and the flour (500 g of flour—2 cups?  3?  maybe 5?  I have no idea) and 1 1/2 t salt (~or wait, did I already add salt??  Oh no, I did.  whoops. We’ll just call ‘er 3 tsp of salt.  oh well.)  [note: just like sugar causes yeast to grow, salt causes it to STOP growing]  So…then I turned on the bread machine to do the dirty work for me.  And the 2 cups of flour doesn’t seem to be cutting it.  I attempt to “gradually” add up to 1 more cup of flour–DUMP!!!  it was clumped and about a heaping cup landed in there. (doh!)  It just gets worse.

I was supposed to take the bread OUT of the bread machine after kneading and let it rise ONE time in the pan.  Well…..I forgot that step.  It grew and grew and grew …in the bread machine.  (oof!)  So, now I have to dig the dough out of the bread machine and then dig the crazy little stir thing out of the dough and now the dough is F – L – A – T.  Second rise?  anyone?  Sure, Why not?

After a semi-useless 2nd rise, I throw the loaf in the oven at 350° for 35 minutes.  When the timer beeped, I went to take the bread out and it wasn’t done.  grr…directions call for 400° oven.  I’ll just turn up the heat and leave it in there for another  5 minutes or so.  [define “or so”  whoops!  totally forgot to set a timer.  ….15 minutes later……]

Perfection.  Wow, this stuff is AMAZING!  I don’t think I could kill it even if I tried.  And trust me, I gave it my best shot.

Oh, YES, I did!!

In response to the exclamation, “Oh, NO, you didn’t?!,”  I have to say, “Actually, I did.”  For the last couple of days, I have been feeling really domestic.  I mean, “scrap the dishwasher” domestic.  (No, I didn’t throw out my dishwasher, but I did do TONS of dishes by hand….just for fun!)  Wow, was that ever scary!  Anyhow, it continues.  I am in LOVE with domesticity this week.  I made homemade granola.  What else can you do with homemade granola, butoh yeah, S’MORES GRANOLA BARS!!! (recipe to come) ~yum.~

And then…I decided to whip up some failproof bread.  I mean, this stuff is amazing.  I CAN’T kill it.  Trust me, I tried.  (you can find that story here) It turned out wonderful.  So, I made some more, and then some more so that I could remember to take a picture.

Fresh out of the oven.

After dinner tonight, I went out to the garden to see what I could find.  Tomatoes, more tomatoes, a jalapeño, a green bell pepper, some onion, some garlic, a tick of cumin…are you following where I’m headed?  You’re right!

Homemade SALSA!!!

I also dehydrated tons of apple slices and bananas for Ben’s lunches.  The kids love those.  “Whew!” I think I’m tired.