Nov 11, 2016

Catching up in the Kitchen - Friday

WHAT'S HAPPENING: Without going into a lot of details, the past few days have been really emotionally tough for me. Every election has to have a winner and a loser - that's how our system works. In my world, winners shouldn't gloat, and losers shouldn't be hateful and vindictive. If you're on FaceBook, you know both happened to the Nth degree. About the 10th time I had to read one of many "friends'" post how Republican voters are stupid, ignorant, un-educated, racist, woman-haters, and worse, I lost it. I actually cried. To think that any of my friends could think these things of ME (not a closet Republican by any means) - well, it just broke my heart and, for a bit, my spirit. They didn't seem to understand that while they were making these generic comments - aimed at Republicans in general - that many of their friends, family and neighbors are, indeed, Republicans!! And these mean-spirited posts really hurt.

It occurred to me that the Liberals are the folks who are the first to proclaim that all people should be treated equally, and with respect and dignity (which I agree with, by the way). Apparently, voicing it and practicing it are two different things.

A sewing day!
Enough politics. I put FaceBook down and walked away. I can't prevent people from thinking what they want to think, but I don't have to read it. There's enough Evil in the world without actually inviting it into your life, so FaceBook is gone for a few days until the hatred dies down. A few "friends" are gone permanently, but it is what it is.

Meanwhile.... there is much more to life than FaceBook!  Once I put it down, I found I had time on my hands! Imagine that.  I spent the afternoon yesterday (Thursday) working on a quilt. I put Project Runway DVD's on my player in the background, and sewed, sewed, sewed. It was great. For those who quilt, you know how you truly have to focus your mind on what you're doing. Great way to get the BAD stuff out, and the GOOD stuff in :)

WHAT'S COOKING: Today I had to spend some time catching up in the kitchen. We needed bread. I'd promised my husband cinnamon rolls. I had 5 lbs of organic lemons to process before they went bad. We needed some kind of healthy snack in the house.

I make a very basic white bread (which you can easily replace half the white flour with whole wheat flour). It consists simply of yeast, water, sugar or honey, a bit of salt, and flour.  I always make enough for two loaves, but usually make only one, and use the other half of the dough for something else -- pizza dough for dinner that night, cinnamon rolls, dinner rolls, sandwich rolls, hot dog or sub rolls, or, if I happen to have leftover roast and veggies of some kind, I'll make meat turnovers.

Today the extra dough became cinnamon rolls. All I do is roll the bread dough out into a rectangle, brush all but one long edge with butter, sprinkle on cinnamon sugar rather heavily, sometimes add nuts or raisins, roll it up, seal with water along the non-butter edge, cut into 9-12 pieces, let raise until doubled, bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes, and cover with a white frosting glaze. I use Paula Deen's Cinnamon Roll recipe - not for the rolls, but for the glaze. I'm sure the rolls are good too, I just find it easy to use my white bread dough instead. Less mixing, less mess, less work.

Ready for Winter coughs!
I picked up 5 lbs of organic lemons for .99 the last time I went to the store, so needed to process those. I sliced them, put the ends aside, and filled a pint mason jar with the lemon slices, then added 1/4 tsp of cinnamon (for it's anti-inflammatory properties), then covered it all in honey. Once the honey settled, I put more slices of lemon in the jar, covered with honey again. I let that sit on the counter and added honey as needed until the lemons were completely submerged in honey. I keep this in the fridge to use for coughs and sore throats in the winter. Plop one or two of these honey-laden lemons in a cup of tea, and you have almost instant relief.

With the rest of the lemons, I sliced, saved the ends, and put the slices in my dehydrator for the day. I use dehydrated lemon slices in both hot and iced tea. Plus they look pretty in a jar on my kitchen counter.

All the lemon ends I saved? I slice them into thin strips, and put them in the dehydrator (with an added screen so they don't fall through). Once dried, I will use my spice mill to grind them up and add to my jar of Lemon Zest, which I use in cooking and baking. I have also run them through the mill with black peppercorns for really yummy Lemon Pepper, which I love on chicken and fish.

Lastly, I made our favorite "Granola Bar". It's a No-Cook Oatmeal bar that goes so well with an afternoon cup of coffee or an evening cup of tea.

The basic recipe is:
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
3 cups of oatmeal

To that, add what you like. Today I chopped up some dehydrated mango, craisins, and added coconut, cinnamon, and some chocolate chips. Add no more than 1/4 cup of whatever ingredients you want.

Mix well. And that's the hardest part! I take my rings off and mix by hand. If you mix by spoon, make sure it's a really sturdy spoon. Lay a sheet of aluminum foil down in a 9 x 11 baking pan, then spray lightly with Pam. Put your bar ingredients in and use a piece of plastic wrap to push it all down firmly and evenly. I mean - REALLY push. Push down along the edges, too. Put this in the fridge for about two hours, then cut into 1 x 3 inch bars. Wrap individually in plastic wrap, so your family can just grab a "granola bar" and go. Good stuff.

WHAT'S THE PLAN: My To Do List today was just basic daily cleaning tasks, and the baking I discussed above. I put dishes away, then fed the dishwasher all day as I baked. I swept the kitchen floor first thing this morning, but had to do it again after baking! I did a good all over general "pick up" first thing this morning -- just walking around my house putting things back where they belong. Jeff made the bed, and I did a quick clean of all bathrooms, put new towels in his bathroom and wiped down both sinks. Right after lunch I drove Jeff to our mechanic's to pick up my car, and took Sophie with us. Silly dog just loves riding in the car. That was pretty much it, besides the baking I discussed already.

WHAT I LOVE: My daughter-in-law is so wonderful about sending me photos of my sweet 5 year old granddaughter, Miss Aimee. It's hard when 3 grandchildren live nearby, and one lives so far away. I always appreciate her taking the time to send me a photo.

This morning's photo arrived just as I was getting up - and it started my day in such a wonderful, positive way! This child smiles from the inside out :) She is this happy because both her Mommy and her Daddy walked her to school today. Notice she is all dressed in red, white and blue for Veteran's Day!

Miss Aimee

That's it for today. Please - be kind to each other.

1 comment:

Wendy said...

Sweet photo of Aimee, it just makes me smile too. I am thinking about returning to my blog too, which is how I ended up here (since I follow yours but have not logged in for a long time). There's a lot rolling around in my brain, and it doesn't belong on facebook. :)