Monday, June 28, 2010

Homemade Apple Cider

It's apple cider time at my house. The early Transparent are ready to be picked (green apples), and  June apples (red apples) which make great homemade apple sauce, or cider.

We have a old timey apple press which we use in the making of apple cider.
One person cranks the apple press while another person
 tosses the apples in to be crushed.
The barrel is then pushed forward to drain the juice. There is a bowl underneath to catch the apple juice.
The press is rolled down up on the crushed apples.
Fresh juice.

The juice is then passed through a cheese cloth.
Fresh homemade apple cider. Next blog I will instruct on how to how to can apple cider

Friday, June 25, 2010

Gingerbread Dolls

These cute gingerbread dolls, are a quick project, my little 2 year old granddaughter Marisa loves to tote them around the house. She puts them in her little purse, takes them out, puts them back in. She can entertain herself for hours.
I got the gingerbread pattern from  #248 I love gingerbread. Her patterns are so cute.
Cut out gingerbread, pin together, sew together all around. In the middle of doll cut a 1/12 inch slit. Turn doll inside out and loosely stuff.

Paint the whole gingerbread with acrylic paint Americana honey brown. Allow to dry.

Side load angular paint brush with Americana light cinnamon to give the cookie that browned in the oven look.
With white Tulip Slick Dimensional Fabric Paint add frosting around legs, arms, head.

Take the back of a paint brush,  dot 2 eyes with black paint.
Paint cheeks with Q tip dipped in  Americana blush flesh.
With Tulip Slick black paint mouth.
With Tulip Slick Red paint a heart on the gingerbread man.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Swiss Fried Steak with Gravy

 My husband will eat the ethnic based foods that I fix for him, but every so often he wants what he calls down home cooking. This Chicken Fried Steak  with gravy is one of those meals.It speaks to him of his happy childhood sitting around the table at meal time with his family.

Ingredients: 1 cup flour, salt , pepper, oil, 1 can cream of chicken soup, cube steak.

Salt' and pepper all steaks, cover in flour.  Place on hot frying pan with tablespoon of oil. Fry till golden brown.

Add the whole can of cream of chicken soup, with 1 cup of water. Cook on low for 1 hour, until meat is fall apart tender.

Monday, June 21, 2010

My First Class

I have always had an interest in the arts, espeacially decorative painting. Today I taught my first class. I had taught before. On a one on one basis, family members which made for a good stepping stone to teaching a group of people.  I was so excited to have a group of 14 women in my first class.
 It was very exciting, and draining all at the same time. I was glad that I was not nervous. My husband Toby had prayed for me before I left, I was waiting to get nervous, but it never came. I know that I serve a good God and that he answers prayers.

Homemade Pancakes made from scratch

I enjoy a batch of light fluffy pancakes.  Since I don't live close to a Cracker Barrel, or a Ihop,and our volunteer fire dept only makes theirs in Sept for 3 weekends. I had to figure out how to make them myself, without having to use the premixed box type. They have a stale taste compared to the fresh from scratch type.

First let me tell you that all flours are not the same. I prefer using White Lily Flour ,bleached, all purpose. It is made from the winter wheat crop which makes it very light and tender flour for baking. I use it for cake baking also, not all stores carry this flour. It can be found in most any place if you live in the south.

Second the pan you use needs to have a thick bottom, which lays flat on the stove top. It must be brought to temperature slowly, or the pan will warp.
Ingredients: 1 cup White Lily Flour or Swanson Cake Flour
. 3 teaspoons baking powder. 
1 tablespoon sugar
. 1/2 teaspoon salt. 
1 beaten egg. 
1 cup milk
. 2 tablespoons canola oil.

Place flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, in large bowl, whisk all dry ingredients till well blended. Add liquids, egg, milk, oil. mix with spoon till blended, leave a few little dry lumps in the batter.
Check pan for heat, by dropping a drop of water on it. It should dance across the pan. Add non-stick spray before adding batter. I use a ladle to spoon the batter into the hot pan, it makes the pancakes more uniform size. Let pancake collect bubbles like in the photo before turning over.
Enjoy with a pad of butter, and your favorite syrup.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Cream of Broccoli Soup

What do you do with over cooked  broccoli? Of course you make cream of broccoli soup. It's a way to save food that would be too gross to eat , or would wind up in the trash. Serve it hot with grill cheese fingers, and avocado slices, crispy bacon.

I prefer my broccoli cooked more on the crispy side. My husband Toby asked me to cook his broccoli more, and this was the results. Over cooked broccoli..

 1 medium onion chopped,
 3 tablespoons butter,
 5 cloves fresh garlic chopped,
 3 tablespoons flour,
 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper,
 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, 
1/4 teaspoon salt, 
12 0z can evaporated milk,
 1 cup water, 2 cups milk,
 1/2 cup of shredded cheese Monterrey pepper jack,
 1 chopped avocado for garnish.
Place large pot on medium heat. Melt butter saute onions, and garlic till onions are translucent. Make a rue by adding flour, black pepper, salt, till slightly browned.

Then add evaporated milk, milk, water, thyme, boil till soup thickens, for about 30 minutes. Remove soup from heat add shredded cheese. Garnish with sliced avocados. Enjoy!

How to Freeze Blackberries

My first experience with fresh picked blackberries, was when I went to my mother-in-laws home in Oregon. The berries grow wild, they are plump sweet, and burst in to flavor when you bite them. At that time I was living in Arizona, I wanted so much to bring home fresh blackberries.

The first time I brought a cooler from home to try to bring home my blackberry treasure, I put the berries in a bag, on ice.placed them in the cooler. But half way home from Oregon , the berries turned to mush.

 Next I tried just taking them home in a open airy container, with the same results. I also tried freezing them just to wind up with blackberry soup. I came to the conclusion that blackberries are very perishable, and they don't travel well.

I now live in Virginia, and have wild blackberries all over the property. The local mountain  people have educated me on how to freeze blackberries properly. The fresh berries don't travel well, but I can make them into jams, cobblers, and pies. In or out of season.

Place blackberries on a baking sheet one layer. Place into freezer for 1 hour to freeze.
Now the berries have frozen separately, gather up scoop into freezer bag.

Label bag, put back in freezer. Now you can take out as much as you want. They won't freeze up in one big clump.

Raggedy Anne with Gingerbread Cookie

I found this adorable pattern which had both the Raggedy Anne Doll holding a gingerbread cookie, perfect for my kitchen. This pattern is by You are Speacial/Sam's Stitcherys.  Out of Starke, FL It came out good the instructions were easy to follow. I liked that it had ruff edges, which means less sewing. It also had some painting which I like to do. It took me about a day to put together.

Cut out pattern, sew each piece, turn inside out.

Turn inside out, I use a stick.
Here are the arms stuffed, top half sewn.

The body stuffed, all the way.

Here's where the fun begins, tack felt nose on. I also added orange chalk to give cheeks a rosie look. I stitched a mouth. that' s where the doll starts getting her personality.

I wrapped red yarn here 5 times around my hand, tied a piece of yarn to the top, then cut all the yarns, which gave me 12 strands, which I then sewed to the doll's head.

Add 2 large black buttons for eyes, add stitching for eyebrows and eyelashes.
Also tear pieces of the the material used for the dress, and tie into hair of doll.

The dress is real simple cut on the folds , no hemming, raw edges on sleeves and bottom.

The gingerbread cookies are cut out sewed, cut slit in back, fill with cotton fiber.